COULD WICHITA BE THE DETROIT OF AIRCRAFT?

-- Feb. 14--Wichita's business jetmakers sometimes think about Detroit. Not that many years ago, U.S. automakers weren't too concerned about emerging foreign competitors. Productivity was poor, costs were out of control, and they...


Cessna's Pelton said Parkinson should have added one thing.

He should have said that those incentives are a wake-up call for Wichita and for Kansas.

Kansas must be sure it can stand on its own and compete.

"It's not about the state throwing a lot of money at us," Pelton said. "It's about having capabilities in place."

Keeping the aviation industry competitive is a skilled labor force, competitive labor rates and tax policies and treatments that support an industrial climate, he said.

School systems must be able to support the industry, and the state must support the National Institute for Aviation Research and the work force training center, Turner added.

There are a lot of ingredients, Pelton said.

Wichita must be a dynamic place willing to change, Turner said.

"This aviation industry is an absolute jewel for Wichita, south-central Kansas and for Kansas," Turner said. "We ought to have some serious strategies on how to keep it healthy."

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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