Are Boeing and Airbus SPLITTING Spirit AeroSystems?

By Spyros Georgilidakis | April 5, 2024

Airbus and Boeing are reportedly working TOGETHER so that each of them can get and keep the parts of Spirit AeroSystems that they want.

Spirit AeroSystems used to be part of Boeing, as we have seen. However, the aerostructures supplier has expanded and acquired other aerostructures companies since Boeing spun it off in 2005. Very quickly, Spirit became a supplier of both Boeing and Airbus.

Are Boeing and Airbus SPLITTING Spirit AeroSystems?
The nose section of a KC-46 (767-based air refueling tanker). Photo: Spirit AeroSystems

However, both analysts and Boeing executives have now acknowledged that Boeing’s spinoff of Spirit (then called “Boeing Wichita”) was a mistake. But re-purchasing the company would be quite expensive, at a time when Boeing’s finances are already stretched. A purchase would also be very complicated, given Spirit’s tier-one status with both Boeing and Airbus.

However, Airbus has previously expressed interest in acquiring some parts of Spirit. The European manufacturer makes the wings of all of its aircraft, except the A220, whose wing is made in Belfast – by Spirit.

An Airbus A220. Photo: Air France

Splitting Spirit – Boeing And Airbus Protecting Their Interests

Airbus would like to purchase this facility, which is operating at a loss – but not at any price. But Airbus also wouldn’t want Boeing to take control or even get an insight into this or any other Spirit sites that make key parts of its aircraft. This includes facilities in St. Nazaire, France, and in Kinston, North Carolina, USA, that make fuselage parts for the A350.

Are Boeing and Airbus SPLITTING Spirit AeroSystems?
Spirit has facilities worldwide now. This is in Sait Nazaire, France. Photo: Duch, CC BY-SA 4.0

Normally, the breakup and absorption of a key company like Spirit by aerospace giants like Boeing and Airbus would meet with strong resistance from regulators, on both sides of the Atlantic. But European regulators wouldn’t necessarily want Boeing to control key sites making Airbus parts.

American regulators might support Spirit’s split for different reasons. The FAA and other industry stakeholders want to see Boeing get on top of its quality control headaches. And many believe that bringing Spirit in-house again would be a move in that direction. Spirits make the entire fuselage of the 737, plus large sections of all other Boeing aircraft.

Photo: Spirit AeroSystems

It is still far from clear if splitting Spirit is something that Boeing and Airbus will be able to do seamlessly. We have recently seen that Boeing and Spirit had been exploring a tie-up, in the aftermath of Boeing’s latest crisis. But the three companies are reportedly working together, each for its own reasons. Arguably, Boeing needs the deal more than Airbus does.

However, Airbus has key interests to protect. In its present form, Spirit has a value of nearly $4 billion. It is not clear how much of this relates to Boeing Vs Airbus production. However, around 65% of Spirit’s revenue involves Boeing aircraft.


For a recent analysis on this issue, check out the MentourNOW! video below:

Leave the first comment