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Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc.
Mid-Western Aircraft Systems Holdings, Inc.
Traded as
  • NYSESPR (Class A)
  • Russell 1000 component
Industry Aerospace
Founded 2005; 19 years ago (2005)
Headquarters Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
Key people
Pat Shanahan (President & CEO)
Revenue Increase US$1,813 million (2023)
Operating income
Increase US$198 million (2023)
Increase US$59 million (2023)
Total assets Increase US$6,950 million (2023)
Total equity Decrease US$(512.8) million (2023)
Number of employees
18,235 (2022)
Footnotes / references
Financials as of December 31,  2023 (2023 -12-31).

Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc., is an American aerostructure manufacturer. The company, based in Wichita, Kansas, builds several important pieces of Boeing aircraft, including the fuselage of the 737 and 787, as well as the flight deck section of the fuselage of nearly all Boeing airliners. Spirit also produces parts for Airbus, including fuselage sections and front wing spars for the A350 and the wings for the A220. Spirit's main competition comes from Collins Aerospace, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Leonardo, and Triumph Group.


Boeing-Whichata B-29 Assembly Line - 1944
Boeing B-29 Superfortress assembly line in Wichita (1944)

Spirit was formed when Boeing Commercial Airplanes sold its Wichita division to investment firm Onex Corporation in 2005.

Spirit's main Wichita plant was originally founded as Stearman Aircraft in 1927 before being acquired by the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (UATC) in 1929. Following the breakup of UATC in 1934, the plant was retained by Boeing and became the Wichita division of the Boeing Airplane Company in 1941. The Wichita division was responsible for the construction of several models of strategic bomber aircraft including the B-29 Superfortress, B-47 Stratojet, and B-52 Stratofortress. During World War II, employment peak at the Boeing Wichita division was 29,795 in December 1943. From 1957 to 1963, starting with the B-52D variant a total of 467 B-52 aircraft were built in Wichita.

Spirit also includes North American Aviation's former Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma facilities.

On January 31, 2006, BAE Systems announced it had agreed to sell its aerostructures business, based at Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Samlesbury Aerodrome, to Spirit. The unit is a major supplier to Airbus (80%), Boeing (15%) and Raytheon (5%). The transaction was completed on April 1, 2006. Spirit paid GB£80,000,000 (equivalent to £86,076,794 in 2021) for the business.

On October 31, 2019, Spirit acquired Bombardier Aviation's aerostructures activities and aftermarket services operations in Northern Ireland (Short Brothers) and Morocco, and its aerostructures maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Dallas, with the acquisition completing a year later in October 2020. The deal gives Spirit a bigger place in Airbus' supply chain, in particular with the wings for the Airbus A220 that are produced in the Belfast plant.

In March 2024, Boeing started talks to acquire Spirit AeroSystems. The talks came after years of losses and quality control problems at Spirit. Both Boeing and Spirit faced intense scrutiny after an uncontrolled decompression on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, that was occurred when a door plug (a structure installed to replace an optional emergency exit door) on the Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, which was not bolted in place due to a manufacturing error, blew out. In a statement, Boeing said, “We believe that the reintegration of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems’ manufacturing operations would further strengthen aviation safety, improve quality and serve the interests of our customers, employees, and shareholders.”


In 2010, 96% of Spirit's revenue came from its two largest customers: 85% of sales were from Boeing, 11% from Airbus.

After planning to take Spirit public, at initial public offering on November 21, 2006, the firm's stock rose 10% on the first day. In November 2006, Onex owned 58% of Spirit, which resulted in 92% of voting power, as its shares conferred "supervoting" power. The chief architect of the Onex purchase of Spirit was Nigel S. Wright, who was later Chief of Staff for the Canadian Prime Minister until his resignation as part of an expense scandal. In August 2014 the Onex Group sold all of its remaining shares of Spirit. Over the course of the nine-year investment, the Onex Group received aggregate proceeds of approximately $3.2 billion on its initial $375 million investment.


Boeing 737 fuselage train hull 3473
The Boeing 737 fuselage, built at Wichita's Spirit AeroSystems, being shipped to final assembly in the Seattle, Washington area.

Spirit's principal products are metal and composite structural sub-assemblies ("aerostructures") for Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier airliners, as well as business aircraft (and their military variants). It also provides various other aerospace products and services.

Spirit's initial and continuing role has primarily been the manufacture of the Boeing 737 fuselage, and other components. As well as the nose and forward-cabin sections of most Boeing jetliners. The Boeing sub-assemblies are mostly built at Spirit's former Boeing-Wichita factory complex, near its headquarters in Wichita, Kansas. Spirit also manufactures major fuselage and/or wing sub-assemblies for current Airbus jetliners, mostly in its Tulsa, Oklahoma factory.

Spirit also manufactures parts and sub-assemblies for various other aircraft manufacturers at various sites in the United States and the United Kingdom—including the fuselages of the Sikorsky CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter. It also produces or adapts various other defense-related aerospace products for other manufacturers.

Manufacturing facilities

Spirit Aerosystems building - - 1733043
Glasgow-Prestwick plant (2010)
Spirit AeroSystems - Saint-Nazaire
Saint-Nazaire, France manufacturing plant (2015)
United States
United Kingdom
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland (Short Brothers, ex-Bombardier)
  • Prestwick, Scotland (ex-BAE)
  • Subang

Incidents and safety concerns

In December 2023, an employee of Spirit AeroSystems filled out a class action in federal court against the company, alleging that former employees repeatedly warned about safety problems and were told to cover up systematic quality control failures, undercount defects, records falsification and retaliation against employees raising safety concerns.

On January 5, 2024, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 experienced a midair emergency when a door plug blew out causing an uncontrolled decompression of the aircraft. The fuselage and door plug are manufactured and initially assembled by Spirit AeroSystems, then shipped by train for final assembly at the Boeing Renton Factory.

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