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Spirit AeroSystems to design and produce the A350 XWB's centre fuselage news
19 May 2008

Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems said it will design and produce the composite centre fuselage frame section for the A350 XWB under an agreement with Airbus. The structure, which will be approximately 64.7 ft. (19.7 m.) long and weigh around 8,990 lb. (4,078 kg.), will be manufactured in a new assembly plant to be built in North Carolina, Spirit said.

The value of the contract has been pegged at around $2.75 billion over the life of the programme, while investments in manufacturing facilities will total $700 million spread over approximately seven years. The investments will be "shared roughly equally" among Spirit, Airbus, suppliers and local governments.

Some part of the work will also be performed at Spirit Wichita, as well as at a new facility in Malaysia that is expected to be operational in 2009. "Partnering with Airbus on the A350 XWB is a significant step in our company's history," said Jeff Turner, Spirit president and CEO.

This would be a comeback of sorts for Spirit, as it was one of the contenders for some of the facilities being divested by Airbus as part of the latter's Power8 restructuring but was rejected. The sell-off of the French and German facilities subsequently stalled in the face of deteriorating market conditions and the unfavorable dollar-euro exchange rate.

Spirit is seeking additional A350 work as well.

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Spirit AeroSystems to design and produce the A350 XWB's centre fuselage