Jan 10, 2020 11:02 PM

Gov., congressional delegation respond to layoffs at Kan. aircraft parts maker

Posted Jan 10, 2020 11:02 PM

On Thursday, Senator Jerry  Moran toured Cox Machine, Inc. in Wichita to learn how they are impacted by Boeing’s decision. They employ 300.

WASHINGTON —Problems for Boeing and its troubled 737 Max aircraft are beginning to ripple outward with a major supplier announcing that it will lay off more than 20% of its workforce in Kansas, where it is based.

The announcement of 2,800 layoffs at Spirit AeroSystems, a major employer in Wichita come one day after documents became public showing that Boeing employees raised doubts about the safety of the 737 Max. 

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and members of the Kansas congressional delegation have take action.

The Governor directed Wichita native and Labor Secretary Delía García to coordinate the state's available resources for affected workers and businesses. García will be on the ground in the coming days to lead the centralized, coordinated response from state agencies. The state also will be working closely with local and federal agencies as part of the response, according to a media release.

"I've been in constant communication with local, state and federal officials as the state prepares to assist Spirit, its workers and affected businesses in the supply chain," Governor Kelly said. "I have directed an all-hands-on-deck approach across state government to help workers, Spirit and other Kansas businesses that will be negatively impacted connect with every available resource, and with an emphasis on long-term support. We stand in lockstep with the workers and companies affected. That's what we do in Kansas."

"While I know these furloughs will affect a large part of the aerospace workforce in Wichita, I know the community is prepared to assist in every way possible," said Kansas senior member of the U.S. Senate Pat Roberts.  "Wichita is the Air Capital of the World and I am committed to making sure that does not change."

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran said on social media, "The layoffs announced today at Spirit AeroSystems have dealt a harsh blow not only to the company but also to Spirit suppliers and subcontractors. This week, I had conversations with both the incoming CEO at Boeing and the FAA Administrator to encourage them to work together and do everything necessary to get the 737 MAX safely back in the air.

I will work with business leaders and Administration officials to do everything possible to see that this is a short-term impact to the aviation and aerospace industry in Wichita. In addition, I have spoken directly with President Trump and Vice President Pence regarding the impact the layoffs will have in Kansas and throughout the aviation and aerospace industry.

Kansas 4th District representative Ron Estes  said "I have had numerous discussions with the Trump administration, the FAA, the governor, Boeing and other stakeholders about the impact these furloughs will have on employees at Spirit and various other industry suppliers throughout our region. I will continue to work with the FAA to ensure grounded aircraft causing these furloughs can safely return to the skies without any unnecessary delays. In the meantime, my office in Wichita is available to help connect furloughed employees with the Department of Labor and other resources. I am fully confident that thanks to our skilled workforce and industry partners, our region will remain the Air Capital of the World."

Friday's aounced layoffs threaten to damage the state economy that's been solid for months, with low unemployment. Spirit produced about 70% of the 737 Max, including the fuselage. Contracts with Boeing for the Max represents more than half of Spirit's annual income.