737 Max resumes production and brings hope to Wichita economy

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW)-The FAA gave the green light for the Boeing 737 Max to fly again. 

As the planes sat empty, thousands of workers at Spirit Aerosystems had hours cut and were eventually furloughed. 

Now the hope is those jobs will come back. 

“It was looking really bleak prior to this,” said WSU Economic Development Director Jeremy Hill. 

“It’s really big, really good news,” said International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers District 70 President Cornell Beard. 

The approval came as a surprise to the machinists and aerospace union. 

“We’ve been turned down so much and got so many bad answers due to the FAA that I was hopeful but real skeptical,” said Beard. 

Beard said some workers have been furloughed for nine months but said Spirit is beginning to bring in 25 to 50 workers every Friday. 

While the 737 production will help with unemployment for the area, it’s also helping the economy. 

“This is what really drives our economy, so ramping this backup will take a lot of that strain off of this economy so we can see more cash spending,” said Hill. 

That process won’t happen overnight. 

“A lot more than a year for us to really get back to where we were before,” said Hill. 

Hill said with less airline traveling, it means there is less need for aircraft. 

Hill believed the aviation industry will pick up sooner than expected and the union said this is what workers needed to hear. 

“It’s super exciting to be able to tell some folks that there’s a super good possibility their number will be called,” said Hill.

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