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Spirit confirms layoffs at Kinston, N.C., plant

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at 11:29 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, May 22, 2014, at 6:16 a.m.

Spirit AeroSystems laid off an undisclosed number of employees at its Kinston, N.C., plant this week, the company confirmed Tuesday.

But it’s a small number, said Spirit spokesman Ken Evans.

The site currently employs 440.

The cuts were made to realign and reduce the number of salaried employees as Spirit transitions the Airbus A350 program from a development program to a production program, Evans said in a statement.

Spirit routinely performs workforce studies and reviews its business model structure, and the reductions are a result of that effort, he said.

Employees affected by the reduction are being offered severance packages.

At the same time, “we continue to expect measured hiring for hourly positions to support production rates,” Evans said in the statement.

Spirit opened the 500,000-square-foot facility at N.C. Global TransPark in Kinston in July 2010 for the design and manufacture of the composite center fuselage upper and lower shells for the Airbus A350 XWB jetliner.

It also builds the composite wing spar there.

The fuselage structures are then sent to Spirit’s facilities in Saint-Nazaire, France, for assembly and delivery to Airbus. The wing spars are shipped to Prestwick, Scotland.

The A350 XWB long-haul airplane is progressing toward certification, Airbus said Tuesday.

Four of five A350 XWB development aircraft are now flying and have accumulated more than 1,600 flight hours, the company said in a news release about its first-quarter financial results.

The first two customer aircraft are now in the assembly line.

Certification is targeted for the third quarter with entry-into-service by the end of 2014, it said.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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