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Spirit AeroSystems officially opens facility in Chanute, Kansas

News International-French

20 Apr 2012

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., the world's largest non-OEM designer and manufacturer of aerostructures for commercial aircraft, today formally opened a 55,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Chanute, Kan.

The ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony was hosted by Spirit President and CEO Jeff Turner. Other special guests included Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Kansas Secretary of Commerce Pat George, U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, Chanute Mayor Jim Chappell, Chanute City Manager J.D. Lester, Spirit Chanute employees and their families and numerous community partners from the region and state.

Employees at the facility, who officially began work March 2, will perform small aircraft sub-assembly bench work for Spirit work packages.

"The opening of this facility in Chanute fits well with our company's strategy to increase our capacity in a cost effective manner and improve our ability to compete in this challenging global economy," said Turner. "We're positioning ourselves to take advantage of the upswing in commercial aviation, and we can only do that with the right people and capabilities in place."

Employees are recruited and trained through a partnership between Spirit, KANSASWORKS and Neosho County Community College.

"This facility represents a great accomplishment for Spirit AeroSystems, Chanute, and Kansas," said Brownback. "It brings to bear some of the best assets that Kansas has to offer — excellent infrastructure, an experienced workforce, and exemplary training opportunities through Neosho Community College. I want to congratulate Spirit on this expansion."

"This is a special day as we cut the ribbon in front of this facility," said John Pilla, Spirit senior vice president/general manager, propulsion business unit. "Spirit is experiencing unprecedented demand for our products, and our company has found an innovative way to meet those needs through this facility – we're proud to be doing business in Chanute."

The Chanute site was established to help address capacity needs driven by previously-announced rate increases for many of Spirit's core programs. In September 2011, an existing facility in Chanute was chosen in collaboration with the Kansas Department of Commerce, the City of Chanute and other community partners based on a number of priorities, including infrastructure requirements, an available workforce and major highway access.

Quick facts about the Spirit Chanute facility:

   - The facility officially opened March 2, 2012, with 16 employees attending orientation.
   - It took only seven months from site selection to opening day.
   - It took just three months for the City of Chanute to refurbish the building.
   - The hiring process is a partnership with KANSASWORKS and Neosho County Community College to recruit and train Spirit employee candidates.
   - Chanute site employees are performing small sub-assembly bench work.
   - Ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremony held April 5, 2012.