Spirit's Turner: It's an 'upbeat' Paris Air Show

Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner keeps a several pages of paper with him at the Paris Air Show. After an interview, he pulls it out to check it.

In small type is a schedule of the back-to-back meetings he’s having with customers, suppliers, analysts, the media and industry colleagues.

“It’s an upbeat show,” Turner said. “Clearly, people are anticipating an expanding market and lots of opportunity to grow.”

And there’s more interest than there was at the last Paris Air Show two years ago, he said.

Show-goers are more positive about the future, Turner said.

There’s much more interest on the commercial side of the aerospace business. On the military side, “there’s a little less helium in the balloon,” Turner said, as defense spending has declined.

There’s a lot of chatter in the industry about Boeing’s increase in production rates on its 737 jetliner to an eventual 42 per month. Spirit builds the 737 fuselage.

There’s concern among the supply base and the investment community about the sustainability of the rates and whether it’s a bubble or a systemic rise in demand.

“Nobody has the answers; everybody has the questions,” Turner said.

But there is correlation between air travel and gross domestic product growth in the world, he said. And if economies continue to grow at the current rate, demand will rise.

Ten years ago, no one thought there would be the need for 30 or 40 planes a month, “but clearly we do,” he said. “More is better — more production is better.”