Spirit AeroSystems

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Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.
Type Subsidiary of Onex (TSX: OCX)
Founded 1927 (in 2005, company took on current name)
Location Wichita, Kansas, USA
Key people Jeff Turner, CEO
Industry Aerospace and defense
Products Aerostructures
Space systems
Revenue N/A
Employees 8,600 (09/27/2005)
Website www.spiritaero.com

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. (“Spirit”), based in Wichita, Kansas, is the world’s largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer. Spirit formed when Boeing Commercial Airplanes sold the civil portion of its Wichita division to investment firm Onex (TSX: OCX). Boeing Integrated Defense Systems retained its military business in Wichita, which lies on neighboring land.

Nose section of a Boeing 787-8 airliner, unveiled at Spirit Wichita for the first time.

Nose section of a Boeing 787-8 airliner, unveiled at Spirit Wichita for the first time.

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.

The Wichita division was responsible for construction of many important aircraft in Boeing’s history, including the B-17 Flying Fortress, 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.)

Spirit’s main competition comes from Vought Aircraft Industries, Goodrich, Alenia, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) serves as a labor consultant for Spirit. [1]

On January 31, 2006, BAE Systems announced it had agreed to sell its aerostructures business to Spirit. The BAE unit, to be 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 catastrophically dependent upon a single customer for business.


  • Wichita, Kansas (Headquarters, ex-Stearman/Boeing)
  • McAlester, Oklahoma (ex-North American)
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma (ex-North American)
  • Samlesbury, England, United Kingdom (ex-BAE Systems)
  • Prestwick, Scotland, United Kingdom (ex-BAE Systems)

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