Bombardier Acquisition Sets Up Spirit for MRO Expansion

Spirit AeroSystems is doubling its aftermarket scope—in terms of revenue, footprint and capabilities—by purchasing certain Bombardier aerostructures and aftermarket assets. The combined MRO services in Wichita, Dallas, Belfast and Casablanca are now branded Spirit AeroSystems Aftermarket Solutions.

The sites will be integrated so each has the same capabilities, says Jim Lickteig, Spirit's senior director for aftermarket services, as opposed to having centers of excellence that focus on more limited capabilities.

Bombardier’s aftermarket sites focused on Airbus A320 and A330 nacelles and cowlings, and Spirit’s focused on Boeing 737, 777 and 787 nacelles, cowlings, thrust reversers and flight control surfaces. Because the companies did not have overlapping capabilities, cross pollinating them provides customers a broader range of services across the U.S., Europe and Africa. “This gives us more of a global presence, which is something we’ve been striving for,” says Lickteig.

Spirit paid $275 million for the Bombardier assets on closing Oct. 30, which is 45% less than the $500 million agreed to for the acquisition announced a year earlier. 

While there are challenges to undertaking an acquisition during a pandemic, Lickteig says it is advantageous that Spirit did so because it can expand capabilities across the four MRO sites while airlines are flying less and be ready to help customers as they come out of the pandemic.

He hopes the majority of the aftermarket integration will happen in the next six months.

Both Bombardier and Spirit AeroSystems manufactured and repaired similar things—although Bombardier focused on Airbus aerostructures and Spirit focused on Boeing. That should make the integration easier “because we are so much alike,” says Lickteig.

Jim Lickteig
Jim Lickteig

The Bombardier acquisition aligns with the strategic partnership that Spirit AeroSystems signed with Evergreen Aviation Technologies (EGAT) in September. Through that multi-year partnership, Spirit expands in presence in Asia by having EGAT complete MRO for it in Taiwan, which quickens turnaround times and lowers costs for Spirit customers in the region, says Lickteig. In addition, Spirit shares maintenance services for products that it manufactures, such as 777 GE990/Trent 800 nacelles and 737 CFM56-7B thrust reversers and flight control surfaces, with EGAT.

While the Bombardier acquisition should allow organic growth opportunities, expect Spirit to continue looking for other aftermarket acquisitions—especially in the Middle East, China, the rest of Asia and the Americas, says Lickteig.


Lee Ann Shay

As executive editor of MRO and business aviation, Lee Ann Shay directs Aviation Week's coverage of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), including Inside MRO, and business aviation, including BCA.