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Spirit AeroSystems


Spirit AeroSystems is one of the world's largest manufacturers of aerostructures for commercial aircraft, defence platforms, and business/regional jets.  It is headquartered in Wichita, US, with over 18,000 employees globally in facilities in the US, UK France, Malaysia, Morocco, and the UK, where it is one of the largest aerospace companies, with over 4,600 employees: c1200 in Prestwick and over 3,600 in Belfast.  

With expertise in aluminium and advanced composite manufacturing solutions, Spirit’s core products include integrated wings and wing components, fuselages, pylons, and engine nacelles.  Spirit has work packages on all the Airbus and Boeing commercial aircraft programmes, and it also serves the aftermarket for commercial and business/regional jets.

Spirit’s UK operations are centres of excellence for the design, manufacture, and aftermarket support of complex aerostructures in metal and advanced composites, including engineering and technology leadership in advanced materials and ultra-light structures.

Spirit Prestwick’s principal activities include the design, development, manufacture, and assembly of wing components, including advanced composite wing spoilers using a unique Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process.  The site’s investment in R&D directly led to the onshoring of work in the UK from overseas (wing spoilers), creating c.100 high value jobs in Prestwick.  

With an investment of c£30m, the site’s Aerospace Innovation Centre is enabling collaborative research with industrial, academic and supply chain partners into the advanced materials, digital manufacturing and new technologies required for next-generation, sustainable aerostructures. 

The principal activities of Spirit’s Belfast operations are the design, development, manufacture, and assembly of major aircraft structural components (including fully integrated wings, fuselages, engine nacelles and flight components) and provision of MRO and other engineering services.  

At over £520m, the investment in the A220 advanced composite wing programme is the largest ever single inward investment in Northern Ireland.  The composites technology developed for this programme is also being utilised and further developed by Spirit UK for new and future programmes with aerospace, defence and space applications.  

Spirit is committed to meeting net zero goals, through investment in new sustainable product development and improvements in its operational processes to reduce its carbon footprint.

In terms of its operations, Spirit is driving production process improvements to reduce energy consumption, such as out-of-autoclave technologies.  And it is looking at the whole lifecycle of the aircraft parts it produces – i.e. reconfiguring waste at source into a viable raw material for other industrial applications, and recycling carbon fibre offcuts to create tooling for aircraft parts.