Yingling Aviation Breaks Ground For New Hangar at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport

Yingling Aviation, a fixed-base operator and Cessna dealer at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, is growing.

On Wednesday, accompanied by city, airport and Cessna Aircraft officials, the company broke ground on a new 15,500-square-foot hangar.

It will include an upholstery shop, showroom, reception area and employee break room.

Yingling plans to hire seven to 15 additional upholsterers, avionics technicians and installers this year, the company said.

The expansion will accommodate Yingling's work installing its Oasis interior -- a plush, executive-type interior -- into Cessna Caravan planes.

Yingling has been doing the work since 2003. But orders for the Caravan with the Oasis interior are growing.

Other facets of its business, in parts, maintenance, avionics installations and in-line services, also have increased.

"It's not a stretch to say that this expansion of our facilities is directly tied to growth in the general aviation marketplace," Yingling president Lynn Nichols said.

The city has approved a $1.5 million airport revenue facility bond to help with the project.

Yingling held the ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday in its existing hangar -- the first hangar to be built at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport more than 50 years ago, officials noted.

Nichols bought the business five years ago, when the aviation industry was heading into a slump.

At that time, "let's just say it was in need of an extreme makeover," Nichols said.

He instituted a number of changes, and the company is now making money, he said.

Last year, Yingling started a charter service. And this year it will announce plans to re-enter the aircraft sales business, he said.

For Cessna, the Oasis interior expands the market for its $1.7 million Caravan. The plane was conceived as a utility aircraft, or the "SUV of aircraft," said Cessna chief executive and president Jack Pelton.

The executive interior is now attracting buyers who want to travel with an interior as luxurious as those in business jets, Pelton said.

"It is validating an entire new market for Cessna Caravans," he said.