Spirit Aero to change suppliers for Belfast operation after banking further A220 losses

An Airbus A220 aircraft flying above the clouds with an inset picture of the CEO of Spirit Aerosystems, Pat Shanahan.
The president and chief executive of Spirit Aerosystems, Pat Shanahan (inset), said efforts to reduce losses within its A220 (pictured) operation will likely involve changing some of its suppliers.

The boss of Spirit Aerosystems has said the company will seek to change some of the suppliers for its Belfast-based operation in an effort to cut costs.

The US aerospace group announced late last year that it was renegotiating the terms of its deal with Airbus.

Spirit bought the Short Brothers operation in Belfast from Bombardier in 2019.

It makes a number of key components for the Airbus 2020 series of jets, including the wings.

But it has not been profitable since 2016.

The president and chief executive of Spirit Aerosystems, Pat Shanahan, said the talks with Airbus are expected to be completed within days.

Speaking on an earnings call on Tuesday, he said: “The negotiations with Airbus continue and have been productive.

“We hope to conclude by February, but we need to ensure all items are addressed.

“We are converging on operational and financial solutions. I appreciate the partnership and engagement by their leadership.”

Mr Shanahan said the efforts to find savings in the A220 operation will likely see a change in suppliers.

He told the call that “a good portion of the cost reduction” would stem from “a transfer of work”.

The Spirit boss spoke of “coming out of the old Bombardier supply chain”, with work “going to Airbus suppliers”.

The last set of company accounts for the Short Brothers operation in Northern Ireland show it recorded a loss before tax of $227 million in 2022.

Spirit Aerosystems this week announced another $57.7 million (£45.7m) of losses related to the A220 programme for the fourth quarter of 2023.