Spirit AeroSystems delivers first integrated 767 forward fuselage

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Spirit Aerosystems announced Tuesday the completion of its first integrated forward fuselage section for the Boeing 767.

It took about 30 days to complete the fully assembled structure in Spirit's new manufacturing facility, which opened in Wichita in September.

Kami Power, Director of the 747/767 program at Spirit, said, "With this building, we're not redesigning the airplane, we're redesigning how we integrate the airplane. This building is really critical. It will be the future state where we use automated technology."

Before then, Spirit would ship the cab, lower lobe and two side panels to Boeing by rail.

The project was partially funded by the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County as part of a larger capital investment effort by Spirit, which the company said would add more jobs.

"We'll [Spirit] hire 1,000 new workers," Sedgwick County Chairman David Dennis said the company initially said. "They didn't hire 1,000 new workers; they hired 2,500 new workers all at great pay. This is what makes our economy grow."

The manufacturing of the fuselages created more than 300 jobs with salaries exceeding $50,000 annually for employees.

"It's very important to have experienced aircraft manufacturers and assemblers. There were a lot of jobs that were created, not just manufacturing and assemblers but other subject matter expertise. Tooling, our research and technology, It's really critical for us to find the right skill set to bring this home," said Power.

On Wednesday, Spirit will deliver the fully assembled fuselage to Boeing in Everett, Wash.

The complete fuselage is just the first to lay the foundation for more work to come.

"Eventually, we'll do all of our fabrication, manufacturing, and assembly of the 767 components here in this building," said Spirit President and CEO Tom Gentile.

The single unit is too big to ship by rail, so it will be transported via the Dreamlifter.