Aerostructures manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems Inc. will restart production for Boeing's 737 MAX program this month, according to details provided by the company during a recent conference call with analysts. SVP and CRO and Mark J. Suchinski said Spirit AeroSystems will restart production slowly, and increase production gradually throughout the remainder of this year.
Spirit AeroSystems has been negatively impacted by the halt in 737 MAX deliveries last March, and the suspension of 737 MAX production late last year. It laid off 2,800 workers in January as a consequence of Boeing halting production of the 737 MAX, and suspending deliveries of aerostructures by Spirit.
The Wichita-based manufacturer reportedly supplies 69% of each 737 airframe, including the fuselage, thrust reverser, engine pylons, nacelles, and wing leading edges.
In late January Spirit agreed on a new production rate with Boeing for 216 737 MAX shipsets during 2020, an agreement then established in a "memorandum of agreement", subject to any changes in requirements by Boeing.
Boeing will pay $225 million to Spirit during Q1 2020, as an incremental pre-payment for costs and shipset deliveries over the next two years. It's not clear when Spirit would begin recalling workers, or when it may reestablish its regular production rate.
Boeing has said it will resume production for the twin-engine, narrow-body jet series before it resumes deliveries of new aircraft, a move that is on hold pending authorization by the Federal Aviation Administration and other safety agencies that are reviewing the flight-control program update and other safety revisions to the 737 MAX.
Boeing developed the new flight-control software for to address the cause of the two 737 MAX crashes, in October 2018 and March 2019, leading to the aircraft's worldwide suspension.