Aircraft manufacturer to bring dozens of jobs to Newton airport

Published: Dec. 20, 2018 at 3:31 PM CST
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An agricultural aircraft manufacturer has announced plans to locate its headquarters and assembly operations at Newton City/County Airport.

Weatherly Aircraft Company designs and builds aerial application planes for small grain farming. The company plans to add about 109 jobs in the next five years and over $1 million in capital investment.

The company will be manufacturing its 620-B model plane at the Newton facility, with its primary customers located in Russia and Kazakhstan.

Weatherly will be leasing 26,000 square feet of hangar and office space from the airport for a five-year term, with a lease rate starting at $5,720 per month and increasing 3 percent each year.

The Newton City Commission and Harvey County Commission approved the lease agreement at a special joint meeting Thursday. Weatherly will take possession in February and be operational in March.

The project represents a strong collaborative effort by Harvey County Economic Development, the Greater Wichita Partnership, the City of Newton and the Kansas Department of Commerce.

“We are delighted to welcome Weatherly Aircraft to the Newton City-County Airport,” Harvey County Economic Development Executive Director Beth Shelton said. “This project is a wonderful example of collaboration between our city, county, region, and state working together to facilitate growth and create valuable jobs in Harvey County.”

“This is another terrific development for the city of Newton, for our aviation industry, and for Kansas as a whole,” said Robert North, interim secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce. “Weatherly Aircraft Company’s decision to move their manufacturing operations to Kansas is the right move for them. The amount of new employment opportunities coming to Newton is really extraordinary.”

Andrew Nave, executive vice president of economic development for the Greater Wichita Partnership, said, “We were honored to support Weatherly Aircraft Company’s search for new facilities outside of California by demonstrating opportunities available throughout our region. The Newton City/County Airport provided an ideal site for this exciting aviation business, and the City of Newton, Harvey County Economic Development and the Kansas Department of Commerce worked very collaboratively to make the business case to win this company to our region.”

Weatherly Aircraft Company was founded in 1961 and has been based in McClellan, California.