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About Spirit AeroSystems
Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. ("Spirit"), based in Wichita, Kansas, is the world's largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer. The company builds several important pieces of Boeing aircraft, including the fuselage of the 737, portions of the 787 fuselage, and the cockpit (referred to as "Flight Deck" by Boeing) of nearly all of its airliners. Spirit also produces fuselage sections and front wing spars for the Airbus A350. Spirit's main competition comes from Vought Aircraft Industries (now known as Triumph Aerostructures - Vought Aircraft Division), UTC Aerospace Systems, Alenia, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
Spirit was formed when Boeing Commercial Airplanes sold its Wichita division to investment firm Onex. Boeing Defense, Space & Security retained its military business in Wichita, which lies on neighboring land. The Wichita division was responsible for construction of many important aircraft in Boeing's history, including the B-29 Superfortress, B-47 Stratojet, and B-52 Stratofortress. Spirit can trace its legacy back even further to Stearman Aircraft, which was founded on the same site; Stearman later became part of Boeing. Spirit also includes North American Aviation's former Tulsa and McAlester facilities (both in Oklahoma.)
On Aug 8, 2005, Spirit AeroSystems announced that Ulrich R. (Rick) Schmidt had joined the company as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, reporting to Jeffrey Turner, President and CEO.
On January 31, 2006, BAE Systems announced it had agreed to sell its aerostructures business, based at Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Samlesbury Aerodrome, to Spirit. The BAE unit, which was renamed Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Ltd., is a major supplier to Raytheon (5%), Airbus (80%), and Boeing (15%). The transaction was completed on April 1, 2006. Spirit paid GBP 80 million for the business.
In 2010, 96% of Spirit's revenue came from its two largest customers: 85% of sales were from Boeing, 11% from Airbus. In 2009 these two customers represented 96% of sales for Spirit as well.
After planning to take Spirit public, at initial public offering on November 21, 2006, the firm's stock rose 10% on the first day. In November 2006, Onex owned 58% of Spirit, which resulted in 92% of voting power, as its shares conferred "supervoting" power. The chief architect of the Onex purchase of Spirit was Nigel S. Wright, who was later Chief of Staff for the Canadian Prime Minister until his resignation as part of an expense scandal. In August 2014 the Onex Group sold all of its remaining shares of Spirit. Over the course of the nine-year investment, the Onex Group received aggregate proceeds of approximately $3.2 billion on its initial $375 million investment.
Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) serves as a labor consultant for Spirit and sits on its board of directors.