Vought Aircraft Industries intends to focus on its existing programmes as it aims for a second consecutive quarter of profitability, rather than aggressively targeting new programmes such as the Airbus A350 XWB.
The US-based aerostructures specialist insists its recovery is well under way despite the challenges it is facing in keeping to key customer Boeing's 787 production schedule. Chief executive Elmer Doty plays down reports that the company has faced severe problems with its own suppliers for the aft fuselage that it manufactures for the programme.
"It was reported that we had delinquent suppliers - we have plans in place to ensure they don't impact on the programme. I'm surprised we haven't had more challenges on the structures," Doty says.
Vought has responded to the 787 challenges by adding employees to help the suppliers in question, and arranging for parts to be airfreighted to arrive in time. Doty insists the 787 programme has had fewer supply chain logistical hold-ups than any he has been involved in, "even if there is the odd instance where we have to rent an Antonov to get a part there on time".
Vought is looking ahead to future programmes too, although Doty is sanguine about its chances on the Airbus A350 XWB. "We are in discussions with Airbus for the A350 XWB, but I would not consider us a major contender as we have another big start-up going on - the 747-8. We are emerging from a year of financial stress. We hope we can capture a position on the A350, but we've been distracted for the past year. We're just now reaching the point where the business is recovering as we want but being late in the game does tend to limit your options."
Although the lack of a European presence is a "major issue" for Vought, the company is unlikely to bid for one of the Airbus sites available as part of the manufacturer's Power8 restructuring plan.
"We are not directly pursuing any of the sites. We would like a European presence, but it is not clear that the best way to establish one is through one of Airbus's sites," Doty says. But he adds: "We remain open to possibilities."
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Source: Flight International