Spirit AeroSystems

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

Despite a rocky financial start to 2021, Spirit AeroSystems said it has begun rehiring workers following massive layoffs a year ago.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

Spirit AeroSystems has ended what company officials have called a challenging year.

The company issued its final 2020 financial report on Tuesday and it was grim: Spirit lost nearly $900 million last year because of the pandemic and the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max. That compares to a profit of more than $500 million in 2019.

A Boeing 737 Max carried paying passengers on a U.S. flight Tuesday for the first time since March 2019 as American Airlines put the aircraft back in service. The planes had been grounded worldwide after two deadly crashes highlighted safety problems.

American Flight 718 took off from Miami around 10:40 a.m., heading to New York's LaGuardia Airport, according to the aviation tracking site Flightradar24.com. The plane landed ahead of schedule, shortly after 1 p.m.

Boeing's 737 Max jet is flying commercial routes once again, as Brazil's Gol Airlines brought the jetliner back into service Wednesday. The worldwide fleet of 737 Max planes has been grounded since March 2019, after two deadly crashes raised concerns over the aircraft's safety and airworthiness.

Boeing's 737 Max is making a comeback after two crashes that killed a total of 346 people in late 2018 and early last year. Ireland's Ryanair, a major European carrier, has ordered 75 of the planes, which had been grounded since March 2019, the two companies announced on Thursday.

The Federal Aviation Administration is getting closer to allowing Boeing's troubled 737 Max commercial jetliner to fly passengers again.

FAA chief Stephen Dickson says his agency "is in the final stages of reviewing the proposed changes to the Boeing 737 Max," adding that the agency could complete its evaluation of the fixes "in coming days" and allow the plane to return to service. Reuters is reporting that the plane could be recertified by the FAA as soon as Nov. 18.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

Spirit AeroSystems reported continuing declines in revenue and income during the third quarter.

The aerospace manufacturing company said Tuesday that revenues in the quarter were $806 million, down about 60% from a year ago. Spirit had a loss of more than $150 million in net income, bringing its losses for the year to more than half a billion dollars.

As bad as the figures were, they were both improvements over the second quarter.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

Wichita is known as the Air Capital of the World — birthplace of Beechcraft and Cessna, and home to Spirit AeroSystems, Textron Aviation and dozens of aviation supply companies.

But continuing troubles with Boeing’s 737 MAX and a downturn in air travel due to the pandemic have led to massive layoffs across the industry, once again raising the question: Is Wichita too reliant on aviation?

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

It was another dismal quarter for Spirit AeroSystems.

The Wichita aviation manufacturer reported its second-quarter earnings Tuesday. Both revenue and income were down significantly.

Spirit says lower production rates on Boeing programs — most notably the 737 Max — and the impact of COVID-19 on air travel continue to affect the company.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

Spirit AeroSystems announced another round of layoffs on Friday as the Wichita aerospace company continues to get battered by the grounding of the 737 Max and the pandemic.

Spirit said in a news release it will cut another 1,100 jobs from its commercial programs. That represents 450 new layoffs in Wichita when taking into account previous reductions and employees moving to other programs, such as defense. Some employees also previously agreed to take voluntary layoffs.