The expansion supports production rate increases already planned for the Boeing 737 programme. The company also celebrated delivering the first 737 MAX thrust reverser with the new composite inner wall to the flight test program. Spirit produces the 737 MAX fuselage, pylon, thrust reverser and engine nacelle at its Wichita, Kan., facility and the wing leading edges at its Tulsa, Okla., facility. Spirit is responsible for delivering about 70% of the 737 structure to Boeing.
“We're excited to celebrate completion of this expansion project and delivery of the first thrust reverser with a composite inner wall,” said Tom Gentile, Spirit AeroSystems president and chief executive officer. "Spirit has delivered assemblies and components for more than 9,000 737s since the model entered service, and we look forward to supporting the 737's continued success and competitiveness through this newest expansion."
Spirit is using a proven composite inner wall material, providing Boeing with a maintainable, producible and reliable solution for the 737 MAX. The new design includes a thermal protection system, which provides reliable protection from the heat generated by the new fuel efficient Leap-1B engines made by CFM International. The 737 MAX is 20% more fuel efficient than the original Next-Generation 737.
“Delivering this very important capability to our customer is our top priority,” said Duane Hawkins, Spirit's senior vice president of Boeing Programmes. "Spirit helped design and develop a technical solution for our customer and now we have the capacity to deliver the product on time and with the highest quality possible."