Spirit AeroSystems Sees Wichita Operations Idled 'At Least' Through Tuesday

Date : 04/16/2012 @ 2:26PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Spirit Aerosystems Holdings, Inc. (SPR)
Quote : 97.66  -1.09 (-1.10%) @ 4:02PM

Spirit AeroSystems Sees Wichita Operations Idled 'At Least' Through Tuesday

Spirit Aerosystems Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SPR)
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Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. (SPR) said production at its Wichita facilities would remain idled "at least" through Tuesday as it continued to assess damage sustained when storms and tornados ripped through parts of Kansas on Saturday.

The largest supplier for the commercial aircraft unit of Boeing Co. (BA) said it would restart production "as soon as possible", but in an update for employees Monday gave no definitive timing as staff cleared debris and utilities were restored to the damaged plant.

Spirit makes fuselages and other parts for Boeing's best-selling 737 and the 787 Dreamliner, and the halt in production poses a threat to aircraft production at a time when the Chicago-based aerospace group is increasing output.

A Boeing spokesman said the company maintained a cushion of inventory in its supply chain, but declined to provide any further guidance on the potential impact on production.

Parts are shipped from suppliers around the globe for final assembly at Boeing's plants around Seattle, but just-in-time manufacturing techniques have cut the amount of inventory it holds.

Spirit said in its latest update that it was making "good progress" in its recovery plan, though admitted there would be a knock-on effect on customers.

"Obviously our short-term delivery schedule has been impacted and we are working closely with our customers to continue to provide the products they need," the company told staff.

Spirit added that "most equipment and product looks good", with its production capabilities "essentially intact".

The weekend storms hit an industrial cluster in Wichita that styles itself as the "aerospace capital of the U.S.," with hundreds of companies feeding the extended supply chains used by commercial and military plane builders.

Spirit's Wichita plants were running when what the National Weather Service called an EF-3 tornado hit late Saturday, but the company said no one was hurt. It initially advised most staff to stay away Sunday, before extending the closure through Tuesday.

Wichita is also home to two of the world's largest business-jet makers, Hawker Beechcraft Corp. and the Cessna unit of Textron Inc. (TXT), as well as hundreds of smaller suppliers.

Spirit shares were recently down 1.4% at $24.06, recovering some ground lost earlier in the session. Boeing was down 10 cents at $72.82.

-By Doug Cameron, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-750-4135; doug.cameron@dowjones.com

(Jon Ostrower contributed to this article.)

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