Spirit AeroSystems announced Wednesday it will add 1,400 new jobs over the course of the next year.
The aviation company is the largest employer in Wichita. Last year, Spirit announced it would add 1,000 jobs in the next two years, which already has done.
Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and Gov.-elect Laura Kelly attended the news conference where Spirit president and CEO Tom Gentile made the announcement.
“In many respects, this is the golden age of aviation," Gentile said. "We’re growing in terms of air traffic.
"There is an incredible demand for new aircraft, and we are building more aircraft than ever before. So we need more people as we go up in production rate.”
Gentile said the majority of the new positions will be mechanics, machine operators and people who work with sheet metal. The 1,400 new jobs will introduce almost $75 million annually in wages to the community.
“It took us 52 years to build 10,000 aircraft, and at the current rate of production, it will take us only 15 years to build the next 10,000, so a huge amount of progress," Gentile said.
One of the ways Spirit has been able to meet the growing demand for workers is through collaboration with WSU Tech -- formerly the Wichita Area Technical College -- as well as other technical training institutes throughout the region.
Spirit also announced Wednesday that it plans to expand operations at its plant in Tulsa. The company plans to hire 250 people and invest more than $80 million in capital projects.
Last year, in addition to announcing it would add 1,000 jobs, Spirit said it would invest $1 billion in its south Wichita facility. Part of that investment is the company's new 150,000-square-foot Global Digital Logistics Center. It is scheduled to open next year.