Parkinson, Hawker CEO talk


July 22--Gov. Mark Parkinson and Hawker Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture met Wednesday to discuss ways the state could help the company stay in Wichita.

"They had a good, honest, productive conversation," said Amy Jordan Wooden, the governor's spokeswoman.

Boisture said Tuesday that the company is looking at Mississippi or Louisiana as potential places to put a facility.

No decisions have been made, he said.

The two met at the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, England, where Hawker Beechcraft is exhibiting its aircraft suited for military markets. Parkinson, meanwhile, was at the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition's exhibit.

Hawker Beechcraft has been looking at ways to cut costs during the economic downturn, which has hurt sales of business aircraft.

Parkinson understands the economic challenges facing the company, Wooden said. It has a long, rich history in Wichita.

"The governor expressed (that) he hopes they'll continue to be part of Wichita," Wooden said. "But as they continue the process, if there are state programs they want to take advantage of, he hopes they'll reach out to us."

Boisture said Tuesday that the company began looking at 10 locations a few months ago "that might be suitable for developing facilities for parts of our business."

It has since narrowed the choices to Louisiana and Mississippi.

Hawker Beechcraft employs about 7,000 people, including about 6,000 in Wichita.

Hawker Beechcraft told employees in a letter Tuesday that the company was exploring options inside and outside the U.S.

The company will be making a series of decisions between now and the end of the year regarding the future role of the company in Wichita.

"We'll stay in contact with them," Wooden said. "We recognize they're going through their process. We understand and get it. We want to make sure they know we stand ready."

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or