Spirit AeroSystems

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Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.


Public (NYSE: SPR)


Aerospace and defense


1927 (in 2005, company took on current name)


Wichita, Kansas, USA

Key people

Jeff Turner, CEO


Aerostructures Space systems


$3.28 Billion year end (12/31/2006)


11,845 (12/31/2006)



Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. ("Spirit" NYSE: SPR), based in Wichita, Kansas, is the world’s largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer. The company builds several important pieces of Boeing aircraft, including the fuselage of the 737, portions of the 787 fuselage, and the cockpit (referred to as "Section 41" by Boeing) of nearly all of its airliners. Spirit also produces fuselage sections and front wing spars for the Airbus A350. Spirit’s main competition comes from Vought Aircraft Industries, Goodrich, Alenia, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

Spirit was formed when Boeing Commercial Airplanes sold its Wichita division to investment firm Onex. Boeing Defense, Space & Security retained its military business in Wichita, which lies on neighboring land. The Wichita division was responsible for construction of many important aircraft in Boeing’s history, including the B-29 Superfortress, B-47 Stratojet, and B-52 Stratofortress. Spirit can trace its legacy back even further to Stearman Aircraft, which was founded on the same site. Stearman later became part of Boeing. Spirit also includes North American Aviation’s former Tulsa and McAlester facilities (both in Oklahoma.)

On January 31, 2006, BAE Systems announced it had agreed to sell its aerostructures business, based at Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Samlesbury Aerodrome, to Spirit. The BAE unit, which was renamed Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Ltd., is a major supplier to Raytheon (5%), Airbus (80%), and Boeing (15%). The transaction was completed on April 1, 2006. With this purchase, Spirit is no longer critically dependent upon a single customer for business.

After planning to take Spirit public, at initial public offering on November 21, 2006, the firm’s stock rose 10% on the first day. Onex still owns 58% of Spirit, which results in 92% of voting power, as its shares confer “supervoting” power.

Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) serves as a labor consultant for Spirit and sits on its board of directors.


  • Wichita, Kansas (Headquarters, ex-Stearman/Boeing)
  • McAlester, Oklahoma (ex-North American/Rockwell/Boeing)
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma (ex-North American/Rockwell/Boeing)
  • Samlesbury, England, United Kingdom (Small office based on a BAE Systems site)
  • Prestwick, Scotland, United Kingdom (ex-BAE Systems)
  • Subang, Malaysia (future manufacturing plant)
  • Kinston, North Carolina (future manufacturing plant, Global TransPark)


  1. “Spirit AeroSystems – from cornfields to A350s”. Flight Global. 2010. http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/07/13/344199/spirit-aerosystems-from-cornfields-to-a350s.html. Retrieved 2010-07-18. 
  2. Onex’ Spirit AeroSystems To Acquire BAE Systems Aerostructures.” Official press release.
  3. Spirit AeroSystems Planning Initial Public Offering.” The Wall Street Journal. June 30, 2006.
  4. UPDATE: Spirit Aero, AerCap Lift Off Post-IPO >SPR AER.” The Wall Street Journal. November 21, 2006.
  5. “Richard A. Gephardt Joins Onex Team”, Spirit Aero news release 2005-04-29 (PDF)

External links