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KLM Boeing 737 and Delta Airlines Airbus A350 jets.

Boeing, Airbus Agree to Split Spirit AeroSystems

July 2, 2024
The $8.3-billion plan to consolidate its major supplier of fuselage structures is Boeing’s strategy to align safety and quality management systems, plus its workforce to the same priorities, incentives, and outcomes.

Boeing Co. has a definitive agreement to acquire its supplier Spirit AeroSystems approximately $8.3 billion, which includes Spirit’s current debt total. While an earlier report contended that Boeing’s offer would be comprised mostly of stock, the definitive agreement is for an all-stock transaction at an equity value of approximately $4.7 billion.

"We believe this deal is in the best interest of the flying public, our airline customers, the employees of Spirit and Boeing, our shareholders and the country more broadly," stated Boeing president and CEO Dave Calhoun. "By reintegrating Spirit, we can fully align our commercial production systems, including our Safety and Quality Management Systems, and our workforce to the same priorities, incentives and outcomes – centered on safety and quality."

The transaction is expected to close mid-2025, subject to a contingent sale of the certain Spirit operations related to Airbus programs, and other closing conditions including regulatory and shareholder approvals.

The side deal with rival jet-builder Airbus calls for Spirit AeroSystems to transfer operations in Kinston, N.C., and St. Nazaire, France, that manufacture fuselage sections of widebody A350 jets; and plants in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Casablanca, Morocco, that produce A220 wings and mid-fuselage sections; and an A220 pylon production line in Wichita, Kan.

In taking over those operation Airbus will pay a nominal $1.00, and will be compensated with $559 million from Spirit AeroSystems.

Spirit AeroSystems manufactures fuselage structures for the Boeing 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner, among other aircraft programs. It has been linked to multiple quality defects in Boeing aircraft over recent years, most notably the January incident in which the sidedoor plug of a 737 MAX 9 jet was blown open during a flight.

That incident has resulted in an ongoing oversight of Boeing’s and Spirit’s 737 MAX operations by the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as drastically reduced production rates and loss of revenues for Boeing.

Spirit AeroSystems has 18,235 employees worldwide, mainly in the U.S. but also in France, Malaysia, Morocco, and the U.K. The business was launched as a Boeing spinoff in 2005, later incorporating operations acquired from Bombardier and other companies.