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Spirit to receive largest payout by U.S. government to keep jobs, suppliers also benefit

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 8:11 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The U.S. government said it’s giving a hand to aircraft companies who suffered during the pandemic in an effort to keep jobs.

That includes Spirit Aerosystems which is set to get the biggest payout from the Biden administration.

Spirit will reportedly get $75.5 million from the $482 million payout – the most of any company. The transportation department said that should protect more than 3,200 jobs at Spirit alone and as many as 22,500 nationwide. The Transportation Department said the companies getting the money must not lay off workers or cut their pay.

An estimated 100,000 aerospace jobs have been lost since the start of the pandemic. Down the supply chain from Spirit, local suppliers are also seeing a benefit from the payout. Manufacturing Development Inc. (MDI) in Cheney has been among those companies that has felt the pain of he aviation industry and welcomes the federal relief.

“Every day you come in and you hope that something is going to get a little better today and it is starting to get better, but we have a ways to go,” said MDI President and Owner Marcia Mies.

The sheet metal fabrication company makes parts for airplanes, in the supply chain for large and small airplane manufacturing companies. Mies said federal programs like Payroll Protection and now Aviation Jobs Protection have made a difference.

“We have not laid anyone off,” she said. “We’ve lost some employees who just simply had to have more hours than I could give them, even with payroll protection.”

Through the first round of funding provided by the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program, MDI will receive nearly $450,000 to protect 16 jobs. The program is part of $3billion set aside in the American Rescue Plan passed in March.

Wichita State University Center of Economic Development and Business Development Jeremy Hill said although Spirit is receiving the most money in the federal payout, small manufacturers will benefit the most.

“They’re the ones that have really taken the biggest hit because the large ones have working capital and other abilities to weather storms,” Hill said.

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