Spirit examines various scenarios as Boeing decides 777's future

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Spirit AeroSystems is developing several response scenarios depending on the future direction Boeing opts to take with its 777 long-range twin.

Spirit chief executive officer Jeff Turner says that planning "would depend on the material choices" Boeing selects for the 777.

For example, if Boeing elects to convert the aluminium fuselage of the 777 to composite, Turner says Spirit does not have the manufacturing capacity and would "require a facilitization plan" to support fabrication of seven composite 777 forward fuselages per month.

Currently, Spirit is responsible for manufacturing the aircraft's forward fuselage components, which are shipped to Boeing's Everett, Washington facility for integration and final assembly. Additionally, Spirit fabricates the composite floor grids for the 777.

Along with a composite fuselage, Boeing is entertaining a host of potential upgrades to the 777, which include an upgraded engine, composite wing and provisions for more comfortable ten-abreast seating, as well as potentially replacing the type altogether with a clean sheet design.

Spirit currently fabricates and integrates the single-piece composite barrel fuselage for the smaller 787.

Boeing plans to announce its intentions on the future of its largest twin-jet before the close of 2010.