Boeing Eyes Cutting Airbus Ties in Spirit AeroSystems Talks

Spirit AeroSystems supplies key components for Airbus aircraft, including fuselages and wing parts, aiding production.
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  • 11:43 AM, March 20, 2024
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Boeing Eyes Cutting Airbus Ties in Spirit AeroSystems Talks
737 MAX airplane @Boeing

Boeing is considering reducing Spirit AeroSystems' links to its competitor Airbus amid complications in Boeing's bid to reclaim its former subsidiary.

This decision, first reported by Reuters citing sources close to the matter, comes after confirming talks of acquiring Spirit two weeks ago, with both companies rushing to address FAA-grounded flaws in 737 Max planes.

With Boeing and Airbus dominating the aircraft market, quality issues and cost containment challenges persist. Boeing is considering shedding specific Spirit businesses supplying Airbus if a deal is struck, fearing European regulatory objections to Airbus relying on Boeing's competitor for components.

The January mid-air cabin panel blowout on a 737 MAX 9 accelerated Boeing's plans to integrate Spirit back into its operations, reversing a cost-cutting separation decision made two decades ago. Spirit's Airbus-related revenue in 2023 is significant, making it a key negotiation factor.

Boeing hesitates to inherit Spirit Aero's Airbus operations, notably the loss-making Belfast wing-making facility for the A220 jet. Spirit has initiated talks with Airbus over the Belfast plant's potential sale, though Airbus's stance remains uncertain.

While Airbus's ability to block Spirit's sale to Boeing is limited, it holds considerable lobbying power with European governments. Both Airbus and Boeing declined to comment. Boeing is also exploring other potential buyers for Spirit's Airbus-related business.

The acquisition could grant Boeing more control over production processes, but exiting existing contracts could incur significant financial implications, especially with Spirit's involvement in Airbus's A350 wide-body jet production.

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