WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Kansas lawmakers are reacting to Spirit AeroSystems' decision to layoff 2,800 employees at its Wichita facility.
On Friday, Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Representative Ron Estes (R-Kan.) released a statement shortly after the announcement.
“While these furloughs will affect a large part of the aerospace workforce in Wichita, I know the community is prepared to assist in every way possible,” said Sen. Roberts. “Wichita is the Air Capital of the World, and I am committed to making sure that does not change.”
“I have had numerous discussions with the Trump administration, the FAA, the governor, Boeing and other stakeholders about the impact these furloughs will have on employees at Spirit and various other industry suppliers throughout our region. I will continue to work with the FAA to ensure grounded aircraft causing these furloughs can safely return to the skies without any unnecessary delays,” said Rep. Estes. “In the meantime, my office in Wichita is available to help connect furloughed employees with the Department of Labor and other resources. I am fully confident that thanks to our skilled workforce and industry partners, our region will remain the Air Capital of the World.”
Sen. Roberts and Rep. Estes encourage workers to contact their Wichita offices for any assistance they may need.
Congressman Dr. Roger Marshall told Eyewitness News that his heart goes out to the families impacted by the layoffs.
“Growing up outside of Wichita, I have a deep understanding of the aerospace industry’s profound impact not only on the greater Wichita region, but across Kansas as a whole," said Marshall. "This announcement is devastating, but Kansans are resilient and our communities are some of the best in the country. I have no doubt that people in Kansas will rally in support of those affected by this news. We look out for one another, that’s what Kansans do. Of course, we want the FAA to ensure that the 737 MAX can safely operate, and I encourage Boeing and Spirit to stay in close communication so that operations can quickly resume once the FAA certifies the aircraft."
Marshall says his office will continue to work with Estes, the Kansas delegation, and the Administration to connect impacted families with available resources during these difficult times.
Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) also responded to the Spirit layoffs, saying he is working with lawmakers to get the 737 MAX safely back in the air.
“Wichita would not be the Air Capital of the World without the extraordinary engineers, designers and manufacturers who have invested in our aviation industry and made Wichita their home. The layoffs announced today at Spirit AeroSystems have dealt a harsh blow not only to the company but also to Spirit suppliers and subcontractors," said Moran. "This week, I had conversations with both the incoming CEO at Boeing and the FAA Administrator to encourage them to work together and do everything necessary to get the 737 MAX safely back in the air. I will work with business leaders and Administration officials to do everything possible to see that this is a short-term impact to the aviation and aerospace industry in Wichita."
Moran says he has spoken with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence regarding the impact the layoffs will have in Kansas and throughout the aviation and aerospace industry. He plans to continue working with the Administration and Department of Defense to showcase the capabilities of Wichita manufacturers in an effort to diversify the industry and bring more job opportunities to the region.