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A 737 MAX 8 for Fly Dubai performs a test flight at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Boeing Plans 737 MAX Return With Spirit Aerosystems Supplier

Following a rough start to the 2020 year, Spirit Aerosystems has finally been able to get some promising news following a deal with Boeing to look into restarting Boeing 737 MAX production should the aircraft meet the aerospace firm’s current strategy to get the plane recertified. Spirit had been producing the fuselage for the narrowbody jet but suspended work when the Chicago-based company also suspended work on the final assembly line.

Should the schedule hold, Boeing would be willing to accept 216 fuselages from the Wichita-based company in 2020 and begin to slowly increase the work as the line gets back up to speed. However, between the aircraft already being built and the work already being done to fix previously built aircraft, Spirit does not expect to reach their high point of 52 fuselages a month until at least 2022, a Wichita Eagle report stated.

For the aerospace firm, the company relies heavily on Boeing and the 737 MAX to meet keep their profits going. The aerospace firm builds key structural components for the narrowbody jet as well as other Boeing products including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 777. Of the company’s $7 billion in revenue last year, over half of it came from Boeing related manufactured parts.

Due to line assembly differences in the months leading to the work suspensions, Spirit now hosts an arsenal of 737bMAX fuselages that are stored at McConnell Air Force Base, currently sitting in protective wrapping and awaiting shipment via train car to Renton.

While Boeing and Spirit had different production rates, both would also be different on how employees would be treated during the shutdown. The two firms would suspend work simultaneously at the New Year, but Boeing would hold on to their MAX employees while Spirit would lay off 2,800 employees as a result of the stoppage. These positions would be handed notices on the week of January 22 with layoff set to take hold in February.

The positions that were targeted for layoffs were directly linked to the 737 MAX production line with machinists and shop floor employees being shown the door as a result of Boeing’s MAX issues. Spirit hopes to slowly reintroduce the positions to the shop floor when work resumes and ramps up.

To make matters worse for Spirit, the company will now have to soldier on without its chief financial officer Jose Garcia, who has left after an accounting irregularity was found in the company’s third-quarter report last year. Mark Suchinski will take over for the former CFO and will begin the process of reevaluating the company’s 2019 financial reports to account for any errors that may have been performed in the last economic year.

Spirit says that the irregularity should not change their overall performance in 2019 and will cooperate with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission should they have any issues with Spirit Aerosystems’ current records

Ian McMurtry
Ian McMurtry
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