Spirit AeroSystems, the former Boeing Commercial Airplanes operation based in Wichita, Kansas, is responding to a set of requests for information (RFI) issued by Airbus for a range of potential aerostructures work packages.

“They’ve sent up RFIs for some of their products, and some to Tulsa [a sister Spirit operation in Oklahoma],” says fuselage structures and systems business unit vice-president and general manager Buck Buchanan. The RFIs cover possible engine strut and nacelle work at Tulsa, and fuselage structure work at Wichita. “We had a number of Airbus dignatories here to see the plant, and they’ve seen we can do anything and deliver anything.”

However, Buchanan concedes that the first reaction from Airbus was cautious. “They said ‘But we think you’re too expensive’ – that’s their initial take on us.” Spirit, which is set to step up major marketing campaigns in 2006 for fuselage, propulsion, aerostructures, systems and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work, is in the bidding for a wide slew of possible Airbus work.

Previously the company has mentioned possible involvement in everything from the A350 and A380F to the A330 tanker and A340 modifications.

Buchanan says RFIs are also being pursued with a variety of general and business aviation companies. Buchanan adds that possible partnerships with other structures and MRO shops are being explored. “There are some opportunities for us. We can partner with Chinese and other suppliers because we bring a lot to the game. We have a tremendous define capability, and technology that not everyone has.” The company is, for example, in the final stages of preparing advanced large-scale composite manufacturing technology as part of its workshare on Boeing’s 787 programme.


Source: Flight International