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April 16, 2012

Tornado Ravaged Spirit AeroSystems Says Wichita Factory Looking Good Overall [with Photos]

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By: NYCA Admin
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Damage at the Spirit AeroSystems facility in Wichita, Kansas. (Photo by Spirit AeroSystems, via Flickr)
Damage at the Spirit AeroSystems facility in Wichita, Kansas. (Photo by Spirit AeroSystems, via Flickr)
The Kansas factory that builds the fuselage of the Boeing 737 and many other aircraft components remained closed on Monday after a tornado tore through it on Saturday.

In a mostly positive briefing on Monday, Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner indicated that the their Wichita production facility looked good overall except for debris strewn about. The company could resume shipping some products by the end of the week.

Power had been turned back on and production tools and completed products had not suffered significant damage. Suppliers were being told to continue producing for Spirit, but to wait for shipping.

“We are gaining confidence hour by hour. Much different than Saturday night,” the company said.

The company said operations will still be suspended until at least Wednesday as infrastructure is secured. Workers were not to report to work unless specifically asked to do so, and those who weren’t summoned would not be allowed on the property due to safety concerns.

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With Boeing now churning out between one and two 737 jets every day, any disruption to their supply chain could cause serious financial consequences for Boeing and its customers.

This marks the second time in less than a year that 737 fuselages have run into tornado troubles. In June 2011 video captured a train carrying two 737 tubes being derailed after a tornado while chugging through Nebraska on its way from Wichita to Renton, Wash. Both fuselages were damaged, one seriously.

UPDATE 5:15 PM ET: New photos published by Spirit this afternoon showed dozens of completed and partially completed 737 fuselages with minimal damage.

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