United Airlines 737 MAX order encouraging news for local manufacturers

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 7:07 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - United Airlines is taking advantage of low demand for new airplanes to try and stock up. The airline is purchasing 270 new planes from Boeing and Airbus, news that could soon benefit local manufacturers. Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple said the airline’s plan for the big order of Boeing 737 MAX jets is good news for Wichita. Those in the local aviation industry agree.

The announcement from United Airlines indicates a green light for more aviation jobs in Wichita.

“It’s exciting that we’re back in business,” said McGinty Machine Company President Don McGinty, among local business leaders who are hopeful for the local aviation industry.

He said after about three slow years, “2022 looks good for everybody.”

McGinty Machine Company, a family-owned business, has been around for two generations. Business slowed in 2019 and 2020, from the grounding of the 737 MAX to the COVID-19 pandemic. McGinty had nearly 70 employees two years ago. Now, he’s working back up to 45.

“We have already started hiring for our second shift to start moving up on that and trying to get ready for 2022,” he said. “So, we already started adding more hours to start adding more capacity for the future.”

With United Airlines adding 200 Boeing 737 MAX jets, McGinty believes this could trickle down and positively impact other machine shops.

“Exciting. That means more work. So, of course, (it) keeps us busy and that’s good for the aircraft industry,” McGinty Machine Production Manager Austin Connell said.

Most of the jets United is ordering will replace smaller regional planes. Parts of the Boeing planes are made in Wichita and the surrounding area.

Spirit AeroSystems, among Kansas’ largest employers, expressed excitement for the United Airlines order.

“This is exciting news for our customer, Boeing and the 737 MAX program,” said Spirit AeroSystems Corporate Communications and Community Relations Senior Manager Molly Edwards. “Spirit AeroSystems looks forward to working together with our customer to fulfill its order.”

Whipple said the work coming into the Wichita community is “huge.”

“This isn’t just good for Spirit. We have multiple businesses, small businesses throughout the community that also are suppliers and feed the overall economy,” Whipple said.

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, said “each new plane manufactured in Wichita means new jobs and economic growth for Kansas.”

Suppliers like McGinty believe United Airlines’ order is good news for all in the Air Capital.

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