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Bombardier Aircraft Mulls Kansas City For New Plant

Aerospace manufacturer is considering Kansas City, Missouri as a site for a $375 million passenger jet assembly plant, city and state officials said.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Bombardier Aerospace is considering Kansas City as a site for a $375 million (euro241 million) passenger jet assembly plant, city and state officials said.

While the project is only in its initial stages, discussions have gone far enough that state officials outlined legislation Tuesday to provide state tax credits as a prerequisite for landing the plant.

The Montreal-based Bombardier Aerospace is looking for a site to assemble the C Series of 110- and 130-seat passenger jets. The plant would eventually employ up to 2,100 people, with up to 5,200 related jobs created by employers attracted by the plant. The estimated overall economic impact over 22 years would be $5.9 billion (euro3.79 billion).

''This is exponentially larger than any deal we've ever done,'' Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Greg Steinhoff told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.
Kansas City officials also are enthused.

''This would be a game-changer for Kansas City,'' Bob Marcusse, president of the Kansas City Economic Development Council, told The Kansas City Star. ''We would suddenly be major players in the aviation industry.''

However, the deal faces several obstacles. Bombardier made a preliminary deal two years ago to build the plant in Canada and is under political pressure to honor that deal.

Also, the company has just begun marketing the C Series and must generate enough orders to justify building the assembly plant. A decision on whether to go ahead with the project is expected this year.

If the project is launched, Bombardier and Kansas City development officials say several factors, such as the declining value of the U.S. dollar, could make building the plant in the U.S. more feasible.

Marc Duchesne, a Bombardier spokesman, confirmed Tuesday that the company has talked to Missouri officials, but he noted that other states also have expressed interest, although he would not name them. He also said the company's ''preferred choice'' is still Mirabel, Quebec.

''We expect that the Missouri proposal will be a serious option for us to consider,'' he said.

Kansas City and state officials say Bombardier has looked at a site on city-owned property at Kansas City International Airport for the 1.3-million-square-foot (0.12 million sq. meter) assembly plant. The firm hopes to begin production in 2013 and reach full production in 2015 or 2016.

Bombardier acquired Wichita-based Learjet in 1990 and employs 2,300 people manufacturing its small business jets. The company employs 5,000 people in the United States, with major operations in Dallas, Tucson (Arizona), and West Virginia.
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