WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas showcased its aviation prowess at the Paris Air Show today with several industry leaders alongside Gov. Laura Kelly and Sen. Jerry Moran.
Kelly and Moran joined Spirit Aerosystems as it announced its latest manufacturing methods developed with Wichita State.
This was the 53rd International Paris Air Show at the Paris-Le Bourget Airport. It runs through June 23.
Moran is a member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, as well as the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, making the aerospace industry a direct legislative interest of his. He says the fields’ strength is a result of Kansan culture.
“The aerospace industry is where a strong national defense and a strong economy converge, and nowhere is that more evident than in Kansas,” Moran said. “For nearly 100 years, Kansans have promoted and embodied a culture of innovation in aerospace, which is more imperative today than ever before. Aerospace innovation and growth in Kansas not only improve the lives of Kansans but reverberate across the aerospace industry as a whole. I am proud to represent the Air Capital of the World in the City of Light.”
In a tweet, Kelly said the Kansas economy mandates healthy aviation growth.
“The aerospace industry is a leading workforce in Kansas. If we want to improve our Kansas economy, we must grow our aviation companies. “
The air show is the largest and oldest in the world and features flight demonstrations by various military and civilian planes. It’s also known to be a check on the pulse of the aerospace industry.
While there, Kelly visited a team of airmen from McConnell Air Force Base showing off their new refueling tanker from Boeing, the KC-46A Pegasus. Last week regulators in the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study saying “critical defects” in the aircraft could take years to correct.
In short, the GAO said the contract between Boeing and the Air Force is “an infrequently-used type” meant to keep the government from unintended costs during construction. It says this incentivizes contractors, like Boeing, to keep costs down.
The planes took 3 years longer to arrive because of construction delays after the first plane arrived in January, but the GAO says the defects “don’t meet contract standards.” The Air Force is holding onto 20 percent of the contract price until all defects are addressed.