and Spirit AeroSystems have suspended operations in Wichita following tornadoes that hit production facilities as they swept through Kansas on Saturday night.
Spirit, which supplies 737 fuselages and 787 nose sections, says operations have been halted until Wednesday and told employees Sunday evening to “report to work only if contacted.” Boeing, which operates from adjacent facilities, says its site is shut down through at least today while damage assessment takes place.
Boeing adds that no on-site injuries were reported, but that several buildings are damaged. Spirit reports the “majority of its capabilities are intact.” The company acknowledges, however, that part of the side of a manufacturing process facility has been destroyed, six buildings were significantly damaged, and four were left with “major damage.”
The tornadoes also caused power and communications disruptions. As of late Sunday, electricity and gas supplies to the Spirit facility were still mostly cut off. Spirit says the site where 737 fuselages are made will be easily“cleaned up, but it is still assessing the full effect on the delivery stream to Boeing.
Although the Boeing and Spirit sites took the brunt of the storm, consisting of 97 tornadoes including an EF-3 intensity twister, other aerospace concerns were also impacted. The Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale has six categories from zero to five representing increasing degrees of damage.reported roof damage to one part of its site, while the U.S. Air Force flew 16 refueling tankers from McConnell AFB in Wichita out of the path of the storm to Grand Forks AFB, N.D.
Depending on the outcome of the damage assessment, the storms had the potential to significantly affect Boeing’s ongoing production ramp-up. The 737 rate is currently on track to rise to 42 per month in 2014 with almost two fuselages now being completed every working day in Wichita. The site is also critical to the ramp-up of the 787 line, which recently hit the 3.5-per-month rate as it moves toward a target of 10 per month by the end of next year.