Spirit wins A350 XWB contract

Spirit AeroSystems’s European arm will design and produce the wing leading edge structure for the Airbus A350 XWB.

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Spirit Europe (Prestwick, U.K.), the U.K. based European Headquarters of Spirit AeroSystems Inc. (Wichita, Kan.) announced on July 7 that it has signed a contract with Airbus Industrie (Toulouse, France) to design and produce a major wing structure for the A350 XWB commercial airplane. Spirit will design and assemble the wing leading edge structure primarily at its European facility in Prestwick, Scotland. The composite front spar will be built at Spirit's recently announced facility in Kinston, N.C., while composite subassemblies are manufactured at the Spirit Malaysia facility in Subang, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

The structure, which incorporates advanced technology, will be made of about 50 percent carbon fiber content and will measure 32m/105 ft long. 

"We already have a long history of producing major wing structures in the U.K. for current Airbus models, such as the A320 and A380," commented Neil McManus, VP and managing director of Spirit Europe. "This contract win means that we will be playing just as vital a role in their newest model, the A350 XWB." 

The contract further increases Spirit's involvement on the A350 XWB, having recently announced that it will design and build the large composite center fuselage section in a newly constructed facility in North Carolina. 

"We were already excited to partner with Airbus on the A350 XWB Section 15 composite center fuselage frame section," said Jeff Turner, president and CEO, Spirit AeroSystems. "To be involved in such a significant wing package as well is a testament to the design and manufacturing capability that exists within the entire Spirit enterprise." 

In addition, Spirit has reached an agreement worth $1.7 billion (USD) with Airbus to extend its existing contract to supply leading and trailing edges and other wing structures on Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft that will be assembled in the U.K. from 2011 to 2015. 

"This contract extension is fantastic news for aerospace manufacturing in the U.K.," added McManus. "We now have visibility on a product line that has been a core part of our business for a number of years and is set to be an integral part of our future."