Wichita workers, not Boeing site, of interest to Airbus

Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

On Monday, Airbus officials marked the company’s decade-long presence in Wichita, Kan.

“Ten years ago, we chose to build our first U.S. engineering center in Wichita because the talent pool of aerospace and aviation experts in this city was amongst the richest in the world. I’m glad to say that hasn’t changed,” Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus Americas, said in a statement.

Airbus opened an engineering site in Wichita in 2002 with 30 engineers. Today, it has opened a second location and employs 350 people in Wichita.

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer proclaimed June 11, 2012, as Airbus Day in the city.

“Airbus – like the early aviation pioneers – recognized Wichita’s promise, and has built on it, here in the Air Capital. Together, we continue to gain altitude,” Brewer said in a statement.

The Airbus celebration of its 10-year anniversary in Wichita comes a few months after the jet maker’s rival, Boeing, announced plans to leave Wichita.

“I would imagine that Boeing’s decision will have some favorable impact to us and that there will be some talent we could add to our team here,” McArtor told reporters Monday.

Airbus is more interested in Boeing’s Wichita workers than it is Boeing facilities in Wichita.

“We don’t have any plans or interest right now in any of the physical facilities, but we know our supply chain is likely to be attracted to it. But sure, we would expect to get some good people,” McArtor said.