Boeing says production system was braced for tornado

Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:44pm EDT
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By Kyle Peterson

(Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) said on Monday its production system has a cushion in place to help absorb disruptions caused by a weekend tornado that hit Spirit AeroSystems (SPR.N: Quote), which makes its 737 fuselage and parts of other planes.

Spirit, based in Wichita, Kansas, shut down temporarily after a tornado damaged roofs and cut power in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma on Saturday night.

Spirit, Boeing's biggest supplier of structural components, said it did not yet know the full impact on production, but operations would be suspended at least through Tuesday and near-term deliveries would be affected.

Spirit makes part of the fuselage for the high-profile Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 35 fuselages each month for the best-selling 737, which is assembled in Renton, Washington.

Boeing, which is increasing the production rate of the 737 and other planes, declined to say whether the disruption would slow aircraft deliveries to its customers.

"Boeing typically has a cushion in its production system to account for potential disruptions," Boeing spokesman Larry Wilson said, adding that the company would know more over the "next several days."

Wilson declined to elaborate on the cushion or say if was sufficient to prevent production disruptions on any Boeing programs that Spirit supports.

But analysts say Boeing may have enough parts in its inventory or could slow down production to deal with the supply disruption.   Continued...