Monthly Archives: November 2012

Spirit AeroSystems, engineering union reach tentative contract agreement

Spirit AeroSystems and its engineering union have reached a tentative agreement on a new six-year contract, the two announced Friday.

The agreement between the company and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace’s Wichita Engineering Unit was reached late Thursday.

Union negotiators and its council unanimously recommend acceptance.

SPEEA represents 811 engineers at Spirit.

The company’s offer includes a minimum salary guarantee fund of 3 percent in the second and fourth year of the contract, with funds in the remaining years to be based on the market, said Bob Brewer, SPEEA Midwest director.

It also includes compensated travel time, increases to an incentive award plan, $2,500 ratification bonus, financial incentives to reduce employees’ cost of insurance premiums, premium-free dental coverage and improvement on job security issues and outsourcing, Brewer said.

Under the proposal, engineers would pay 15 percent of the cost of insurance premiums next year, followed by 16 percent in 2014, 18 percent in 2015 and 20 percent in the remaining years.

At the same time, the plan offers better coverage and lower co-pays and deductibles, Brewer said.

“I think without a doubt, the two teams worked very well together,” Brewer said. “We had a common goal and objective to get this done right the first time.”

Main table negotiations began Oct. 29. Both sides have been meeting in subcommittees since Sept. 12.

SPEEA members vote on whether to accept the proposal Dec. 11 at Curtis Middle School at 1031 S. Edgemoor.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m. with a meeting at 5:00. Voting concludes after the meeting.

Results mixed for a key indicator of business jet sales

The North American market for business jets is improving, although weakness remains in some key indicators of new business jet sales, according to a new report by UBS Investment Research.

“We continue to believe that the largest bizjet market, North America, is improving, driven by replacement demand postponed during the downturn,” according to the report by UBS analyst David Strauss.

Business jet cycles – takeoffs and landings – were 2 percent higher in October than a year ago and better than in September, which experienced a decline, the report said.

Strauss estimates that cycles are up 24 percent from early 2009, which was the trough, although they’re still down 18 percent from a peak in mid-2007.

Among the six major business jet manufacturers, Dassault was the only one to see cycle improvement in October. Bombardier, Cessna Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft and Embraer saw declines, while Gulfstream cycles were relatively flat, the report said.

Takeoffs and landings of long-range aircraft dropped 3 percent in October, while short- and mid-range aircraft cycles were down 2 percent each.

Analysts, manufacturers and others watch a variety of indicators, which include the number of takeoffs and landings, to predict demand for business jets.


Aerotek seeks to fill more than 100 openings at Wichita aviation job fair

Aerotek, a staffing services company, is seeking to fill about 120 contract and permanent positions for Sierra Nevada Corp.

Openings are for sheet metal structure mechanics, avionics technicians, airframe and powerplant mechanics, aircraft inspectors and engineers.

More than 100 of the openings are for contractors to fill one-year positions in Denver, said Josh Rainey with Aerotek.

When the year is up, the contractors could be hired by Sierra Nevada Corp., Rainey said.

Besides their salaries, contractors would be paid per diem to help with living expenses in Denver, Rainey said.

That way, they could keep a house in Wichita if they wanted, he said.

Twenty to 30 of the openings are for engineers. Some of those are for direct employment with Sierra Nevada, Rainey said.

The work is with Sierra Nevada’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance division, he said.

The job fair will be held Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Wichita Airport at 2098 Airport Road.

Candidates must be interested in relocating, the company said.

They should bring references and resumes, and applicants will be interviewed on-site.

Applicants may also e-mail resumes in advance to

For more information, call (314) 801-5235.





Female applicants rise for aircraft maintenance training

Aircraft maintenance schools are seeing a 30 percent increase in female applicants, according to the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance.

The non-profit organization, based in Edgewater, Fla., helps students with career counseling and support and assists seasoned mechanics, it reports.

The group pledges to increase opportunities for training and mentorship of women in aviation maintenance, it said.

The organization announced new officers, including Lynette Ashland of Voyager Aviation in Cincinnati, president; Jane Shelton of Pratt and Whitney of Columbus, Ga., vice president; Teressa Stark of Pensacola, Fla., treasurer; and Sharon Riffle of American Airlines in Dallas, secretary and director.


Cessna, CAIGA complete contract for joint venture to assemble and sell Citation XLS+ jets in China

Cessna Aircraft has signed a contract with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. (CAIGA) to form a joint venture company to conduct final assembly of Cessna Citation XLS+ business jets in China for the Chinese market.

Cessna’s relationship with CAIGA “taps into what is expected to be the highest growth aviation market during the coming decade,” Cessna said in a statement.

Formation of the company is subject to various government approvals and customary conditions.

Under the agreement, Cessna will provide component, parts manufacturing and subassemblies for aircraft sold by the joint venture.

Joint venture operations in Zhuhai will be designed to conduct the final assembly, paint, testing, interior installation, customization, flight testing and delivery of the Citation XLS+ jets to customers in China.

Management of the joint venture will include board members from Cessna and CAIGA. A general manager will be nominated by Cessna and the deputy general manager will be nominated by CAIGA.

In March, Cessna signed an overarching agreement with CAIGA’s parent company, Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC), to form joint ventures related to the development of general aviation businesses in China.

The company has been considering the Caravan, Citation XLS+ and Citation Sovereign for joint ventures with AVIC.

At the National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention in Orlando two weeks ago, Cessna president and CEO Scott Ernest said that Cessna was getting close to finalizing a deal.

Machinists union negotiators enter federal mediation over Learjet strike

With a strike at Bombardier Learjet in its fifth week, the Machinists union’s negotiating committee entered into federal mediation on Wednesday, the union said on its website.

George Cohen, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service director, said in a statement Friday that the mediation service has asked the company and the union to return to negotiations with federal mediators. The two parties agreed.

The FMCS, the union and the company also agreed not to make any public comment until further notice, Cohen said in a statement.

Learjet Machinists struck the company Oct. 8 after members rejected its proposal of a five-year labor agreement and voted for a work stoppage. The biggest issue was substantial cost increases in medical insurance.