Stocks at Spirit AeroSystems soared in early August 2017, when the company announced that they had reached a tentative agreement with Boeing to produce parts including the spoiler for Boeing’s Airbus A320 narrowbody airliner. The Wichita, Kansas, based company says that the new agreement will provide stability for the company, which is the largest employer in the city along with providing stability for Boeing. Now, the company who also produces parts for Airbus SE can turn their attention to making the parts along with research and development.
Research and Development at Spirit AeroSystems
Spirit AeroSystems Chief Technology Officer John Pilla, Spirit says that the company spends about $30 million on research annually. He says that the research department who employs about 60 individuals is divided into three divisions. One division is focused on stuff that is far out that may take more than five years to develop if the ideas ever come to fruition. Pilla says one of the reasons that the company is so successful is that they are willing to think outside of the box. The second division focuses on projects that are likely to take two to five years to develop while the third division focuses on short-term research. He says that the goal for Spirit is not to create crazy-looking aircraft but to find ways to create aircraft at cheaper prices.
The company is very hopeful that they can develop a composite material that can be cured without the use of an autoclave. Pilla says that autoclaves are incredibly expensive so developing composite materials that could be used in airplane wings and fuselage that does not have to be cured in the machine would help cut down the cost to manufacture these parts immensely.
Spirit AeroSystems Workforce
Workers in three different locations are employed by Spirit AeroSystems. The company employs about 10,700 people in their Wichita, Kansas, facility. The company was founded in 2005 when Boeing decided to sell their Wichita facility. The company is the largest employer in the city, and it hires about 10 percent of all residents living in Wichita along with many residents living around the city.
A year later, the company bought a facility in Prestwick, United Kingdom, from BAE System. Spirit AeroSystems uses this facility to build Airbus airframes along with assembling wingspan parts for Boeing.
The company also operates facilities in Subang, Malaysia, where they also manufacture some of the components for airplanes. Furthermore, the company owns a facility in Saint-Nazaire France, where the Airbus A350 XWB is assembled. The company’s newest location is a 33,000 square foot training facility in Kinston, North Carolina, where the company works with Lenoir Community College to prepare students for careers in aerospace manufacturing.
Spirit Aerospace who is the largest employer in Wichita, Kansas, is pleased to announce that they have finalized a deal with Boeing allowing them to make parts for the company’s airplanes. The company who operates three other facilities had already finalized agreements with Airbus SE. The company looks forward to developing new products for the aerospace industry in the future.