Spirit halts Wichita output for entire week after tornado
BY THOMAS BLACK Bloomberg News
Thursday, April 19, 2012
4/19/12 at 8:25 AM
Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. has instructed workers at its Wichita plant to stay home for the rest of the week as the company assesses damage from a tornado that hit the facility Saturday.
No date is being set for production to resume, and Spirit will make some product deliveries from inventory, company spokesman Ken Evans said Wednesday. Of 45 major buildings at the complex, four sustained "significant" damage, he said.
Wichita-based Spirit gets about half of its revenue from making fuselages for the Boeing 737, the world's most widely flown jetliner, and has said it was shipping 35 of the units a month.
Chicago-based Boeing Co. is working with Spirit to gauge any effect on 737 output, said Larry Wilson, a spokesman for the planemaker.
"Our focus right now is to understand the effect of the event on Spirit's production capabilities," Wilson said. "We'll balance that information against our inventory of parts and determine whether further contingencies are needed to minimize any potential impact on production."
Spirit's plants in Tulsa and McAlester have not been affected by the production halt in Wichita, company officials said.
Wichita is an aerospace hub, with operations for companies that include Spirit, Boeing, Hawker Beechcraft Acquisition Co. and Bombardier Inc. The city was in the path of destruction left by dozens of tornadoes that raked the nation's midsection last weekend, killing six people.
"We've seen damage to our infrastructure and buildings and that sort of thing," Evans said. "What we're working hard on is getting our buildings structurally sound so that we can bring our workforce back."
Spirit has 10,800 employees in Wichita. The company had $4.9 billion in 2011 sales. It was sold by Boeing to buyout firm Onex Corp. in 2005, and the supplier sold shares to the public in 2006.
Shares of Spirit fell 5 cents Wednesday to finish at $24.43 on the New York Stock Exchange.
At Boeing's defense aerospace plant in Wichita, employees reported to work Wednesday after being idled for two days because of storm damage and power failures, said Yvonne Johnson-Jones, a company spokeswoman. The unit performs mostly maintenance, modifications and engineering support, she said.
Boeing said earlier this year it would close operations in Wichita by the end of 2013 as military spending declines.
Original Print Headline: Spirit-Wichita still shut down
The Tulsa World Business staff contributed to this story.