Spirit Aerosystems

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Spirit Aerosystems's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Spirit Aerosystems is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Nicola Spence, business
development director
Spirit AeroSystems UK,
Prestwick, Scotland
Spirit AeroSystems designs and builds aerostructures for both
commercial and defence customers. With its headquarters
in Wichita, Kansas, Spirit operates sites in the US, UK, France
and Malaysia. The company’s core products include fuselages,
pylons, nacelles and wing components for the world’s premier
aircraft. Spirit AeroSystems focuses on affordable, innovative
composite and aluminium manufacturing solutions to support
customers around the globe. Nicola Spence, business development
director elaborates on behalf of its UK site.
Our origins
Spirit is a young company built on nearly 90 years of flying experience. Many of the
world’s largest aviation pioneers – Stearman, Boeing, Rockwell, North American
and British Aerospace Corporation – have contributed to the legacy of Spirit.
Our history in the United States dates back to 1927, when aviation pioneer Lloyd
Stearman relocated his Stearman Aircraft Company from California to Wichita,
Kansas. Two years later, Boeing – then known as the United Aircraft and Transport
Corporation – acquired the Stearman Aircraft Company. In this capacity it
developed some of history’s most iconic and important aircraft such as the B-29
Superfortress bomber. On this side of the Atlantic, the story of Spirit begins in
1935, when aviation pioneer David McIntyre founded Scottish Aviation Ltd, in the
Scottish countryside of Ayrshire. The facility was a major manufacturer of aircraft
during the Second World War. In the 1970s, Scottish Aviation Ltd’s Prestwick
facility later became BAE Systems Aerostructures.
»UK directors: Scott McLarty,
VP/GM UK and Malaysia;
Nicola Spence, Tommy
Cowan, Ken McCready,
Marelle Capperauld, Simon
Foster, Allan Bowie, Colin
Davidson and Les Carey
»Established in 2006 in the UK
»Based in Prestwick
»Services: Assembly and
engineering of aerostructures
»No. of employees: Around
»One of the largest tier-1
suppliers of aerostructure
components in the world
Spirit AeroSystems
Spirit AeroSystems was founded
in 2005 following the sale of the
Wichita and Oklahoma divisions of
the Boeing Company to Onex, and in
2006, Spirit acquired the BAE Systems
Aerostructures UK business unit based
in Prestwick, Scotland.
Since its founding, Spirit has expanded
its manufacturing and engineering
operations globally, opening facilities
in Malaysia in 2007, France in 2009,
and in North Carolina in 2010. Year on
year, Spirit has continued to expand
and invest in its business, to boost its
capabilities and ramp up production on
aerostructures for the world’s premier
aircraft OEMs.
Spirit in the United Kingdom
The focus of Spirit in the UK is the
design and manufacture of primary
wing structures for the commercial
aviation market. This includes the
production of leading and trailing
edges for Airbus wing assemblies and
the production of leading edges for
certain Boeing wings. With around
1,000 employees at the Prestwick
facility, Spirit is one of the largest tier-1
aerospace players in the UK.
To ensure that the company is at the
forefront of aerospace engineering and
well positioned for the next generation
of future aircraft, Spirit has invested
in multiple collaborative research and
development programmes which
have been match-funded by the UK
government through the Aerospace
Technology Institute. Spirit is further
investing in a state-of-the-art Aerospace
Innovation Centre in Prestwick to
develop the next generation of
advanced composite manufacturing
and assemblytechniques.
Challenges to be addressed
The industry has prevailed over many
other sectors during recessions and
global downturns and is experiencing
unprecedented growth to meet the
demand for air travel in the growing
economies of Asia. The volume of
annually produced aircraft has more
than doubled in ten years and is
expected to increase by a further 50
per cent over the next three to five
years. This level of sustained growth
requires investment in new automated
manufacturing methods and skills to
ensure that production deliveries and
quality standards are maintained.
Boeing and Airbus are under increasing
price pressure from airlines, driving
improved technologies into existing
and new aircraft for cheaper, lighter
and more fuel-efficient aircraft.
Moreover, increasing competition
from suppliers in low-cost countries
seeking to penetrate the growing
aerospace industry has led to
incumbent companies changing their
make and buy strategy and using
these lower-cost suppliers to maintain
their competitiveness. With growing
capabilities and governments ready
to invest, many of these suppliers
are now competing and winning
work statements directly from Boeing
However, the UK has a technology
advantage that can address both
the challenges of price pressure
from customers and the competition
pressures from new, low-costsuppliers. Airbus A320 leading
edge assembly at Spirit,
The Aerospace
Centre will
further enable
our growth
for industry-
Spirit president and
CEO Tom Gentile
Highlighting best practice
A recent success has been the
repatriation of Spirit’s A320 spoiler
back to the Prestwick facility. Through
the technology development of
innovative composite materials and
manufacturing processes, funded with
support from the UK government,
Spirit was able to offer a significant
cost reduction to the customer. With
more than £20m corporate investment
and significant funding support from
the Scottish government, the work will
create approximately 100 new jobs
In addition to Spirit’s design and
manufacturing skills, the company is
deeply committed to and involved in
making the communities in which Spirit
operates better places to live and work.
In practice this means improving the
diversity of the Spirit workforce, which
is not only beneficial in its own right,
but also leads to greater innovation and
a more dynamic workforce. Education
and the arts is another area of Spirit’s
charitable focus, and in these regards
the company helps with the following:
»Mentoring students interested in
STEM careers
»Providing school supplies for
thousands of US children
»Building homes for low-income
families with Habitat for Humanity
»Company-sponsored event to
support an orphanage in Malaysia
»Raised more than £500,000 for
various local UK charities over the
last ten years
At Spirit AeroSystems, we are also
committed to conducting business
in a manner that protects the
environment and enhances the
health, safety and well-being of our
people and communities. We use
industry-leading, technologically
sound and economically viable
control mechanisms, procedures and
processes. Furthermore, we provide
training, security monitoring, auditing
and health awareness programmes
and ergonomic support in our offices
and factories.
Our future in the United
Spirit is fully committed to the UK and
actively supports and participates in
the joint government and industry-
led Aerospace Growth Partnership
(AGP), which seeks to ensure that
the UK remains at the forefront of
the global aerospace market. Spirit
is committed to supporting AGP
initiatives that will grow and enhance
the competitiveness of the local supply
chain, promote diversity, encourage
women into the aerospace industry
and improve productivity through
manufacturing competitiveness and
skills development up and down the
value stream. Where possible, we
must work together with other local
aerospace companies to provide local
solutions to the global challenges of
the UK aerospace industry. The High
Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres
across the UK provide an excellent
environment in which to develop these
supply chain collaborations, develop
skills and technologies and ultimately
ensure that more of the future supply
chain comes from the UK.
New innovative
gives us an
opportunity to
leverage our
expertise to
better support
the needs of
our customers,
and it
strengthens our
ability to secure
future work
Scott McLarty, VP/GM
UK and Malaysia
Spirit in the community


This article was sponsored by Spirit Aerosystems. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister