Boeing and Spirit suspend Wichita operations after tornado

Washington DC
Source:
This story is sourced from Pro
See more Pro news »

Spirit AeroSystems and Boeing have suspended operations in Wichita, Kansas, after a tornado ripped through the southeast corner of the city late on 14 April.

Local photographers snapped photos of the remains of a fuselage - most likely a 737 - blown against a fence near Spirit AeroSystems' production facilities on the edge of McConnell AFB.

The storm damaged several of the company's buildings, which produce structures for aircraft across the aerospace industry, including for Boeing, Gulfstream, Airbus and Sikorsky.

Spirit AeroSystems officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

As a result of the area-wide power outage, Boeing will be suspending operations through Monday and will assess conditions at that time before resuming full operations, the company says.

boeing
© Boeing

Although the heaviest damage was reported in the southeast, other pockets of Wichita's aerospace cluster also suffered damage.

Hawker Beechcraft confirmed that the roof of its Plant IV factory in the northeast part of the city sustained "limited and isolated" damage. The company expects to resume operations as scheduled on 16 April.

Bombardier's Learjet plant at Mid-Contintent airport in the southwest escaped without any signs of damage.

"We experienced winds of 84mph [135km/h] and fortunately no damage to our facility. We are doing a thorough assessment today," Bombardier says.

The storm adds to the growing list of woes facing Wichita's beleaguered aerospace cluster. In January, Boeing announced plans to shut down its operations in the city. Hawker Beechcraft, meanwhile, is on the brink of insolvency, having warned investors on 14 April that a financial restructuring plan is expected in the coming weeks.