The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Spirit AeroSystems’ Ayrshire facility wins two new Airbus contracts

By: Murdoch MacDonald

AYRSHIRE’S aerospace industry has received a significant boost with the announcement that the Prestwick facility of Spirit AeroSystems has won two major new contracts with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

Spirit Europe, the UK-based European headquarters of Spirit AeroSystems Inc has signed a contract with Airbus to design and produce a major wing structure for the A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) programme.

Spirit will design and assemble the wing leading edge structure primarily at its facility in Prestwick, Scotland. The composite front spar will be built at Spirit’s recently announced facility in Kinston, North Carolina, USA, with composite sub-assemblies being manufactured at the Spirit Malaysia facility at Subang, near Kuala Lumpur.

The structure, incorporating advanced technology, will be made of about 50 per cent carbon-fibre content and will measure 32 metres long.

“We already have a long history of producing major wing structures in the UK for current Airbus models such as the A320 and A380,” commented Neil McManus, vice-president and managing director of Spirit Europe. “This contract win means that we will be playing just as vital a role in their newest model, the A350 XWB.”

The contract further increases Spirit’s involvement on the A350 XWB, having recently announced that it will design and build the large composite centre fuselage section in a newly constructed facility in North Carolina.

“We were already excited to partner with Airbus on the A350 XWB Section 15 composite centre fuselage frame section,” said Jeff Turner, president and chief executive of Spirit AeroSystems.

“To be involved in such a significant wing package as well is a testament to the design and manufacturing capability that exists within the entire Spirit enterprise.”

In addition, Spirit has reached an agreement worth $1.7 billion with Airbus to extend their existing contract to supply leading and trailing edges and other wing structures on the Airbus A319, A320 and A321 range assembled in the UK from 2011 until 2015.

“This contract extension is fantastic news for aerospace manufacturing in the UK,” added McManus. “We now have visibility on a product line that has been a core part of our business for a number of years, and is set to be an integral part of our future.”

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle managing director Murdoch MacDonald commented: “It is a happy coincidence that in this the year that we celebrate the UK’s centenary of powered flight, Spirit Aerosystems at Prestwick announces substantial new contracts which underline the Prestwick plant’s position as one of the jewels in Ayrshire’s business crown.

“The former Scottish Aviation Ltd and British Aerospace plant was founded in 1935, and is thus one of the longest established manufacturing companies in the West of Scotland.

“Prestwick remains a significant centre for aeronautical activity, which this latest success emphasises.

“Aviation was the original global business, and Prestwick has many of the essential ingredients required to be a major player.

“The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle congratulates the directors and management of Spirit AeroSystems on their latest stupendous success, and are delighted for the whole workforce, because these two contracts will secure employment at Prestwick for many years to come.”

Councillor Hugh Hunter, the Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: “This is fantastic news, to win one new contract would have been an outstanding achievement, but to win two major new contracts is incredible.

“The highly skilled workforce of Spirit Aero Systems at Prestwick will be able to showcase their skills and professionalism when they design and produce components for the A350 XWB Airbus. Securing this order has raised the profile of the company on a global scale and let people around the world know that South Ayrshire has a highly skilled and motivated workforce ready, willing and able to design and deliver the highest quality aviation components.

“I would like to congratulate the management and staff of Spirit Aero Systems on winning the new contracts and wish them success in the future. I believe that their success, which is due to the hard work and dedication of the employees, will encourage new companies to locate in South Ayrshire. Likewise if existing companies in this area are considering expanding I can think of no better place than South Ayrshire to do so.”

About Airbus

Airbus SAS is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace consortium. Based in Toulouse, France, and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces around half of the world’s jet airliners.

Airbus employs around 57,000 people at sixteen sites in four European Union countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain. Final assembly production is at Toulouse (France) and Hamburg (Germany). Airbus has subsidiaries in the United States, Japan and China.

About Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Limited

Based in Prestwick, Scotland and Samlesbury, England, Spirit Europe is the largest supplier of aerostructures to Airbus. It is the European division of Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. the world’s largest independent supplier of large component parts and assemblies for commercial aircraft. In addition to its UK sites, Spirit has operations in Wichita, Kansas, Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma, and is developing new facilities in North Carolina and Malaysia. Last year Spirit announced that it was opening an MRO maintenance hub for Europe and the Middle East at its Prestwick site.

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