Key Points:

  • Boeing discovers improper drilling on the aft pressure bulkhead of some 737 MAX planes.

  • The defect affects only a portion of units as multiple suppliers provide the aft pressure bulkhead.

  • Boeing's recent manufacturing flaw could impede its effort to match the delivery rates of competitors like Airbus.

Spirit AeroSystems Acknowledges Fault, Ensures Continuity in Fuselage Deliveries

ARLINGTON — Boeing, the aviation giant, announced a new manufacturing defect on its bestselling 737 Max, marking another challenge in its push to deliver more aircraft amidst growing demand. The identified flaw pertains to improperly drilled fastener holes on the aft pressure bulkhead of certain 737 Max jets.

Spirit AeroSystems, the supplier of the fuselages, stated that the error does not span across all units. “Given our reliance on multiple suppliers for the aft pressure bulkhead, only a specific subset of units have this flaw,” the manufacturer said.

“This recent issue will, undeniably, affect the imminent 737 deliveries. Our immediate action involves thorough inspections to pinpoint the affected aircraft and subsequently rectify the discrepancies,” Boeing said.

However, the company assured its clients that unaffected 737 Max planes would proceed with their scheduled deliveries.

The revelation of this defect adds to a growing list of manufacturing challenges Boeing has faced with the Max and other programs. The company's primary objective remains to amplify production levels to cater to the heightened demand from airlines. This is evident from their recent announcement about escalating their production rate to 38 a month, up from 31.

As of now, Boeing remains tight-lipped about whether this newly discovered issue will alter its projected delivery of 400 to 450 Max jets within this year.

Continuing its commitment to Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems reaffirmed its stance. “Our focus remains on collaborating with our customer to pinpoint affected units within our production cycle and carry out the necessary adjustments,” said Wichita, Kansas-based supplier.

“Based on our current understanding, we don’t foresee this issue significantly hampering our annual delivery target,” the manufacturer added.

To put things into perspective, Boeing's delivery rate has seen challenges in comparison to its competition. As of July this year, Boeing had successfully transferred 309 aircraft to its customers, which pales in comparison to the 381 planes delivered by their counterpart, Airbus, within the same timeframe.