Many of the world’s greatest aviation pioneers — Stearman, Boeing, Rockwell, North American and British Aerospace Corporation — have contributed to the Spirit legacy.
Our history in the U.S. dates back to 1927, when aviation pioneer Lloyd Stearman moved his factory, Stearman Aircraft Company, from California to Wichita, Kansas. Two years later, Boeing — known at that time as the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation — purchased Stearman Aircraft Company. The Wichita Boeing site produced some of the most important aircraft in Boeing’s history, including the B-29 Superfortress bomber, the B-47 Stratojet and the B-52 Stratofortress. In 1996 Boeing purchased Rockwell International’s operations in Oklahoma, which produced components for the 737, the International Space Station, the Joint Strike Fighter and the Nimrod MRA4.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Spirit’s history begins in the 1930s. In 1935, aviation pioneer David McIntyre established Scottish Aviation Ltd in Scotland’s Ayrshire countryside. The facility was an essential producer of aircraft during WWII. In the 1970s, the Scottish Aviation Ltd facility at Prestwick later became BAE Systems Aerostructures.
In 2005, Boeing sold its Wichita Division and Oklahoma operations. The new company, Spirit AeroSystems, began the transformation from a single-source supplier into an independent global supplier with multiple customers and platforms.
The following year, Spirit AeroSystems acquired the Aerostructures business unit from BAE Systems, including its facilities in Prestwick, U.K. This operation is now known as Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Limited. Spirit Europe is one of the largest airframe suppliers to Airbus and is a key supplier of major wing structures. Spirit Europe also produces wing structures for Boeing programs.
Since our founding, Spirit has strategically acquired operations of other leading aerospace companies, and we have expanded our manufacturing and engineering operations globally. We opened facilities in Malaysia in 2007, France in 2009, and in North Carolina in 2010. Each year, we have continued to expand our business, boost our capabilities and ramp up production on aerostructures for the world’s premier aircraft.