Airbus confirms interest in parts of Spirit Aerosystems

Airbus A220 taking off
Spirit's operation in Northern Ireland manufactures the wings for the Airbus A220

Airbus has confirmed that it could buy parts of the Spirit Aerosystems business.

Spirit has a major operation in Northern Ireland, which manufactures the wings for the Airbus A220.

It is one of Northern Ireland's largest and most important manufacturing businesses with more than 3,000 employees.

Earlier this month Airbus's rival Boeing confirmed it had begun talks aimed at buying Spirit.

However it is unlikely that Boeing would want to keep the parts of the business which supply Airbus.

In an interview with CNBC, Airbus's chief financial officer confirmed it may buy some Spirit assets.

"In light of the situation today where Boeing has potentially the interest to take over Spirit, we could also imagine that some of the work packages could find their way to Airbus and we take them over," said Thomas Toepfer.

"But that quite frankly is a discussion that's in the very, very early stages," he added.

"It's very important for us that we have a stable relationship with Spirit, over the last number of months we've worked with them to support their performance."

Spirit has been in Northern Ireland since 2019 when it bought Bombardier's operations, ending a long period of uncertainty for the workforce.

However the ownership of the Belfast operation is now in question again because of problems in Spirit's US business.

Spirit began life as a spin-off from Boeing in 2005 and remains a key Boeing supplier, particularly for the Boeing 737.

Some of its work for Boeing has suffered from delays and quality issues, which has exacerbated problems at Boeing.