Molly McMillin Wichita Eagle
First Meetings of Mayor's Delegation in China Start Well, Although Meetings with Hawker Beechcraft Potential Buyer Canceled
October 15, 2012
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  • By: Molly McMillin

    Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer’s meeting with the head of Superior Aviation Beijing in Beijing was canceled because of the sensitivity of the ongoing negotiations between the company and Hawker Beechcraft.

    The mayor is leading a Wichita delegation on a five-city, 12-day business development trip to China, where one of the first stops was to have been a meeting with Superior Aviation Beijing Cheng Shenzong, the potential buyer of Hawker Beechcraft.

    “Of course we are disappointed not to have met with Chairman Chen,” Brewer said in an e-mailed statement from Beijing. “We were looking forward to the opportunity to begin a positive relationship. As always we want to be supportive of Wichita companies and their interests.”

    The mayor wanted to ask Shenzong about the potential acquisition and whether he will keep the work and the employees in Wichita should the deal go through. And he wanted to accentuate the reasons why the work should stay in Wichita.

    Still, the delegation had a productive meeting at the U.S. Embassy, reports Karyn Page, president and CEO of Kansas Global Trade Services, who is part of the group. They gained information to help Wichita companies trade with China and received an overview of the current state of affairs in China.

    Brewer also hosted an aviation luncheon with the American Chamber of Commerce, with about 40 people from U.S. and China aviation companies in attendance. Many of them expressed interest in aviation training opportunities in Wichita, Page said in an e-mail.

    They also met with the second vice mayor of Gou Zhongwen of Beijing. The mayor expressed an interest in exploring city-to-city cooperation focused on general aviation and aviation training, Page said.

    “Beijing wants to be lead GA (general aviation) center in China and has resources to pull it off,” she wrote. “What they lack is knowlege in management and training. A partnership with the Air Capital can accelerate development of their GA industry, providing Wichita with manufacturing and service export opportunities as well as direct investment opportunities.”

    The first day of meetings has been productive, Brewer said in a statement. “We are pleased to learn of possible export and investment opportunities for the Wichita and Kansas economy in the aviation and agriculture sectors.”