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Wichita: America’s jet capital

March 16, 2012, 1:00 PM UTC

The fuselage of a Hawker 4000 private jet, which has a top speed of 555 mph, is being outfitted in Wichita.

Wichita, the “air capital of the world,” boasts the likes of Hawker Beechcraft, Cessna, and Bombardier. But pending defense cuts and a soft market for private planes have hit hard — Boeing (BA) said it was leaving town. Wichita’s aviation companies are now looking for growth in Asia, where the 1% are still flying high.

By the numbers:

7%: Estimated amount U.S. business-jet unit sales fell in 2011 from a year earlier. Even so, Honeywell Aerospace (HON) sees a $230 billion global sales market for business jets over the next decade.

487,600: The number of jobs in the U.S. aerospace industry last year, down from 840,700 two decades ago. Wichita accounts for about 29,000 of the total.

70%: The portion of Hawker planes sold overseas. One potentially lucrative market is China, which now has only 1% of the world’s private-jet fleet, vs. America’s 60% share.

Sources: Hawker Beechcraft, Aerospace Industries Association, JETNET, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Honeywell International

This story is from the March 19, 2012 issue of Fortune.