WICHTA, KS – The suspension of production of the Boeing 737 Max is taking a growing toll on suppliers in Kansas, where more than 40 aerospace companies provide parts and services for production of that aircraft.
Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. is the largest employer in Wichita, Kansas, which bills itself as the “Air Capital of the World” for its concentration of aerospace manufacturers. This week, Spirit asked employees if they would take voluntary buyouts.
Dozens of smaller aerospace companies, mostly clustered in south-central Kansas, are also beginning to shed jobs.
On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran toured Cox Machine, Inc., to hear about the impact of the Wichita-based company. The company's president, Jason Cox, said one-third of its work is supplying parts to Spirit AeroSystems and Boeing related to 737 Max production.
“What I am doing is trying to urge, nudge, insist that everything happen as quickly as it can, again with the caveat that we don’t want to do anything that is not safe,” Moran said.
Boeing expects to temporarily shut down production of the Max, which has been grounded for nearly 10 months, after two crashes killed 346 people.
Moran said he's troubled that the former Boeing CEO seemed to be downplaying the significance of the problem. The Kansas Republican said he contacted President Donald Trump to let him know that "everything is not OK” in his home state or elsewhere due to the continued grounding of the 737 Max.
He said he asked Trump to ask his administration to work with him to explore all options to sustain the industry in Kansas, and suggested that businesses in the state could be considered for more defense work.