Boeing Is in for Rough Patch as New 737 Max Production Issue Emerges, Requiring Further Repairs
By Trisha Andrada
Feb 05, 2024 08:31 AM EST
Feb 05, 2024 08:31 AM EST
Boeing would reportedly need to undertake additional work on around 50 of its 737 MAX aircraft that have not been delivered after supplier Spirit AeroSystems found two mis-drilled holes on certain fuselages. This might delay some deliveries that are scheduled for the near future.
Industry sources reported an "edge margin," or spacing error, in holes drilled in the window frame of some planes. And on Sunday, February 4, Boeing verified the findings in answer to a question raised by Reuters.
Safety was unaffected, and older 737s could resume flying, according to Boeing. The company has been criticized by regulators and airlines after last month's Alaska Airlines mid-flight blowout incident involving one of its planes.
Some 737 fuselages were found to be non-conforming by a supplier last Thursday, February 1. In a letter, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal thanked a supplier employee for alerting his management to the possibility that two holes were not drilled precisely adhering to their specifications.
"While this potential condition is not an immediate flight safety issue and all 737s can continue operating safely, we currently believe we will have to perform rework on about 50 undelivered airplanes," Deal stated.
According to Joe Buccino, a representative from Spirit, who talked with Reuters, the company's 360-degree quality management approach uncovered a problem that did not meet technical criteria. He confirmed that Spirit is maintaining tight contact with Boeing on this issue.
Regarding the misaligned holes and other remaining work, Deal said that Boeing intends to dedicate several production days this week at the Renton 737 facility south of Seattle to repair them. Teams may take a break from their regular duties to focus on certain projects without halting output on these days.
The length of time needed to redo the job should be finalized in the next several days.
Following the rupture on an Alaska Airlines plane, which brought attention to the need for tighter quality controls, Boeing has launched yet another initiative to streamline its processes.
It is anticipated that an interim report will be issued this week by investigators reviewing the possibility of missing or poorly placed bolts on the Alaska Airlines door plug.
Boeing has also requested that a significant supplier--which the company has chosen not to name--stop shipments until all tasks are finished in line with specifications, said Deal. "While this delay in shipment will affect our production schedule, it will improve overall quality and stability."
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