Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems sues to block Texas safety probe

By Mike Scarcella

(Reuters) – Airline parts manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems has asked a U.S. judge to block a probe by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, calling the state’s demand for internal documents and other information unreasonable and unlawful.

Spirit Aero filed the lawsuit Wednesday night in an Austin, Texas, federal court. It said Spirit Aero had significant legal concerns with the investigation that Paxton’s office announced in March focused on the safety of airplane parts provided to Boeing.

Paxton’s demands go too far and violate the U.S. Constitution’s right against unreasonable search and seizure, the company said.

Spirit Aero is a key supplier of fuselages for Boeing, which is facing mounting regulatory and investor scrutiny after January’s mid-air panel blowout on a new 737 MAX plane. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has announced he will step down by the year’s end amid the sprawling safety crisis.

The Texas attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday. Boeing, which is not a party in the new case, declined to comment. Spirit Aero declined further comment on the pending litigation.

Paxton’s request directed Wichita, Kansas-based Spirit AeroSystems to turn over internal communication records and other documents “relevant to manufacturing defects in their products.”

Paxton’s investigation “bears no connection to events occurring in the State of Texas and as such has, at best, a questionable law enforcement purpose,” Spirit Aero’s lawsuit said.

The company said it has one repair-and-maintenance facility in Texas, where 98 of the company’s 20,655 employees work.

Spirit Aero said it “does not manufacture any part, in Kansas, Texas, or elsewhere, that allegedly failed in incidents involving Boeing 737 aircraft.”

The case is Spirit AeroSystems Inc v. W. Kenneth Paxton, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, No. 1:24-cv-00472.

(Reporting by Mike Scarcella; Editing by David Bario and Michael Erman)