Aerostructures Company Strengthens Boeing Partnership, Expands Manufacturing Facility

The world’s largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer recently announced that the company plans to expand operations at its Tulsa, Oklahoma, site by investing more than $80 million in capital projects to support fuselage manufacturing and assembly work.

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., based in Wichita, Kansas, will be hiring about 250 employees as part of this expansion. The new Tulsa project will support increases in 737 production rates by freeing up required space in Spirit’s Wichita factory site.  The work expansion in Tulsa is part of a larger effort to maximize operational efficiencies across Spirit’s sites. As the production rates increase, the Wichita site will continue to hire additional workers to meet the increasing demand.

Spirit AeroSystems President and CEO Tom Gentile

The first phase of the Tulsa work expansion will begin with infrastructure set-up and employee training beginning in 2019. Full rate production is expected to be complete by the end of 2021.  Additional investment in equipment, tooling and facilities upgrades will take place through 2022.

“This expansion would not have been possible without the strong collaboration among Spirit, the UAW, and Oklahoma state and local officials,” said Spirit AeroSystems President and CEO Tom Gentile. “The Spirit team in Tulsa has made great strides in improving the site’s efficiency and demonstrating the capability to bring in additional work. The Tulsa site has a critical role in helping Spirit meet rising airplane production rates and pursue growth opportunities.”

In addition, Spirit announced that it executed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with The Boeing Company, extending its partnership with the aerospace giant and leading manufacturer of airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, and missiles worldwide. Spirit builds several important pieces of Boeing aircraft, including the fuselage of the 737, portions of the 787 fuselage, and the cockpit section of the fuselage of nearly all of its airliners.

“This agreement further strengthens the long-standing partnership between Boeing and Spirit as it removes uncertainty well into the next decade. The agreement establishes pricing and capital investment for a range of potential production rate increases on the 737 program. With the new agreement, we expect price to exceed cost eventually on the 787 program. We are excited to continue to build on our relationship and look forward to future opportunities with our largest customer,” said Gentile. “With this agreement, we maintain our target of 7 to 9 percent conversion of revenue to free cash flow.”


Photo caption: Spirit AeroSystems president and CEO Tom Gentile announces Tulsa expansion (Twitter).

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