Spirit AeroSystems says it plans to hire an additional 1,400 people next year at its Wichita plant.
Its announcement was made at a Wednesday news conference by Spirit Chief Executive Officer Tom Gentile.
The new hiring will come on top of the 1,000 new jobs the aircraft parts maker said last year it planned to add as part of a $1 billion expansion at its Wichita facility.
“This is the Golden Age of aviation. We’re growing in terms of air traffic. There is an incredible demand for new aircraft and we are building more aircraft than ever before. So we need more people as we go up in production rate,” Gentile said.
Spirit AeroSystems’ website says it has more than 15,000 employees worldwide, with about 12,000 of those employees located at the company’s headquarters in Wichita.
Boeing sold its Wichita and Oklahoma operations in 2005 in a move that spun off the company now known as Spirit AeroSystems. It now builds aircraft parts for multiple commercial and defense customers.
Statement from Spirit Aerosystems:
“The aerospace market is growing as never before, and for us that means we continue to need even more highly skilled people,” said Spirit President and CEO Tom Gentile. “Spirit’s ongoing collaboration with regional technical training institutions, along with public investments in those programs, help ensure we can fill our talent pipeline. We appreciate Gov. Jeff Colyer’s leadership supporting this latest expansion, and we look forward to working with state and local leaders to build on the success of these programs.”
The majority of open positions will continue to be in the hourly ranks, including skilled sheet-metal assembly mechanics, composite mechanics and CNC machine operators.
“Once again Spirit AeroSystems has shown why they are vitally important to the Air Capital of the World, and we are pleased to be a full partner in support of their ongoing growth,” said Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D. “The aerospace industry is a key driver of our state’s economy. We remain committed to our unique and robust partnerships which set us apart from the global competition and help ensure the industry’s continued success in Kansas.”
Spirit’s 2017 announcement also included a pledge to increase capital investment. The most visible example is the company’s new 150,000 square-foot Global Digital Logistics Center, which is on schedule to open in early 2019 on the Wichita campus.
The center, which broke ground in May, will utilize a smart storage and retrieval system with racks nearly 70 feet tall. Spirit will consolidate 500,000 square feet in three logistics buildings into the new logistics center by taking advantage of vertical space. The repurposed space allows for expansion of fabrication and manufacturing support areas. This will include the creation of a Raw Material Cutting Center of Excellence that will help Spirit and regional suppliers remain globally competitive.