Boeing (BOE, Washington National) and Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) are reportedly in talks about a coordinated framework agreement to acquire the parts of Spirit AeroSystems that are most important for each respective OEM, sources close to the matter have told Reuters.

Given the prevailing concerns about antitrust action in this duopoly market, it is unclear whether the two leading aircraft manufacturers have met to discuss the deal. A potential transaction is far from being finalised and could well include third parties, particularly insofar as Spirit's smaller sites are concerned.

Boeing is reportedly mainly targeting the acquisition of the company's largest plant at Wichita McConnell airport. The site is the exclusive supplier of fuselages for all B737 aircraft. Spirit AeroSystems also supplies parts for other Boeing programmes, including the P-8 Poseidon (a military derivative of the B737-800), the B767-2C(KC-46A), the B767, the B777 and B777X, and the B787. In 2023, Boeing accounted for USD3.8 billion of Spirit's revenues, 63.6% of the latter's revenue total.

In turn, Airbus is primarily concerned about ownership of Spirit's sites at Belfast City and Kinston. The former manufactures A220 wings and mid-fuselage sections, the latter A350 fuselage sections. The European manufacturer accounted for USD1.1 billion of Spirit's commercial revenues in 2023.

None of the three firms have commented on the report.

Spirit AeroSystems, which was spun off from Boeing in 2005, confirmed last month that it was in talks about a potential acquisition by its former parent, news that came amid a swathe of quality issues at both Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems. The Kansas-based supplier is currently subject to the same FAA audit as Boeing itself and under a separate probe in Texas.

Spirit AeroSystems is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has a diversified pool of small shareholders. Besides its Wichita, Belfast, and Kinston sites, it also has manufacturing facilities in Tulsa, Dallas, Biddeford, and Woonsocket in the US, Prestwick in Scotland, Saint-Nazaire in France, Casablanca in Morocco, and Subang in Malaysia.