Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury is giving little away on the airframer’s specific strategy for Spirit AeroSystems, but confirms the company is holding preliminary talks on options should Spirit be taken over.

Spirit’s future direction has appeared uncertain since attention focused on aerostructure quality lapses at the Wichita-based firm – which was divested from Boeing two decades ago.

Boeing has been looking at a potential re-absorption of Spirit. But Spirit produces section 15 of the Airbus A350’s composite fuselage at its Kinston, North Carolina, plant as well as wings for the A220 in Belfast.

Speaking during a first-quarter briefing, Faury said Airbus “wouldn’t want” important aerostructures packages effectively procured from its main competitor in the event of a Boeing acquisition.

A350 section-c-Spirit AeroSystems

Source: Spirit AeroSystems

Spirit produces Airbus structures including A350 fuselage sections and A220 wings

He says Airbus is working to “secure sourcing” for the work packages and to explore a more operationally- and financially-sustainable way forward.

Faury adds that the airframer is in “early stages of discussion” on a “variety of options” should Spirit be taken over – but declines to elaborate.

He states that Airbus is already supporting Spirit on site through “quite large” teams of personnel at both the US and UK facilities.

This is intended to ensure that Spirit is meeting Airbus’s requirements and enable any quality issues to be anticipated, and provide an on-site “loop” of learning.

Faury says the situation is being managed in a way that “fits” with expectation, pointing out that Spirit is having to deal with its own supply-chain issues down the line.

He says that Airbus is only at the “beginning of the process” regarding discussions on a potential avenue for Spirit’s direction, and that remarking on the speed of the talks would be “premature”.