Section 15.
Section 15.

This composite structure will be approximately 65 ft long, 20 ft wide and weigh nearly 9000 lbs.

Spirit estimates the total value of the contract to be around US$2.75 billion over the lifetime of the programme. To accommodate this and other new work, the company plans to expand its operations with the addition of a new composites facility in Lenoir County, North Carolina, USA, near the city of Kinston.

“To meet the demand for new aircraft, Spirit is establishing a design, fabrication and assembly plant in eastern North Carolina,” says Spirit's President and CEO Jeff Turner. “Investing in additional facilities at this time assures we will be competitive and will be able to retain our position as a top Tier 1 supplier to Airbus and other aerospace companies around the world.”

Spirit and the State of North Carolina have agreed to create a Composites Manufacturing Center for aircraft parts and assemblies in North Carolina. A facility will be constructed in North Carolina's Global TransPark to accommodate new work packages, and it will house both design and build processes. It will initially employ 500 people, but there are plans for the number of jobs to increase to 1000 when all five phases of the project are fully implemented. The project was facilitated by a package of state and local incentives.

Construction of the North Carolina facility will start later this year; operations are expected to start in 2010. Some of the A350 XWB work is also expected to be performed at Spirit's Wichita, USA, site and at its new facility in Malaysia, which is expected to be operational in 2009.

The airframe of the A350 XWB is expected to be over 50% composite. There is currently a 362 unit firm order backlog from 20 customers.