Airbus Seeks Supply Security with Acquisition of Spirit AeroSystems Assets

Close up of an Airbus A350 in flight.
Photo Credit: Airbus

Airbus, the European aerospace giant, has taken a significant step towards securing its supply chain for key commercial aircraft programs. This specifically relates to the Airbus A220 and Airbus A350 manufacturing lines.

The company announced a binding term sheet agreement with Spirit AeroSystems, a major player in the aerospace industry, for the acquisition of specific production lines.

The Airbus announcement follows on the heels of news of Boeing’s reacquisition of Spirit AeroSystems in a deal worth $8.3 billion.

Who is Spirit AeroSystems?

Spirit AeroSystems, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, is a leading manufacturer of aerostructures for commercial airplanes, defense platforms, and business/regional jets.

They specialize in crafting key aircraft components like fuselages, wings, and pylons, utilizing both aluminum and advanced composite materials.

Spirit boasts a global presence with facilities across the United States, Europe, and North Africa.

Notably, their Belfast, Northern Ireland plant is responsible for the wings and mid-fuselage of the Airbus A220 aircraft.

This existing partnership highlights the established relationship between the two companies.

Spirit AeroSystems manufacturing production line.
Photo Credit: Spirit AeroSystems

Targeted Acquisition for Strategic Advantage

This strategic acquisition focuses on acquiring Spirit’s manufacturing capabilities for crucial components directly related to Airbus programs.

These include Airbus A350 fuselage sections, Airbus A220 wings and mid-fuselages, and A220 pylons.

The agreement encompasses facilities in the United States (Kinston, NC and Wichita, KS), France (St. Nazaire), Northern Ireland (Belfast), and Morocco (Casablanca).

A350-900 Airbus demo flight - Day 2
Photo Credit: Airbus

Airbus Prioritizing Stability

Airbus emphasizes that this move aims to ensure a “more sustainable way forward” for its commercial aircraft programs.

The company seeks to achieve greater stability in its supply chain, likely due to past production challenges or a desire for more direct control over these critical components.

The financial details reveal a $559 million payment by Spirit to Airbus, with a nominal consideration of just $1.

However, the final price could be subject to adjustments based on the final scope of the deal.

Fuselage of a Qantas Airbus A220 on the production line.
Photo Credit: Qantas

Next Steps: Due Diligence and Negotiations

While a binding term sheet paves the way, definitive agreements are still pending. Both parties must now complete a due diligence process.

This step will involve a thorough examination of Spirit’s assets and liabilities.

Assuming everything goes smoothly and regulatory approvals are granted, the acquisition could then be finalized.

This development signifies Airbus’ proactive approach in securing its supply chain and potentially streamlining operations.

The coming months will reveal whether this targeted acquisition will come to fruition and how it will reshape the aerospace industry landscape.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
3 Min Read
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