Boeing Slows 737 Max Deliveries Because of Parts ‘Quality Issue’

The issue is expected to affect ‘a significant number’ of undelivered aircraft but is not an immediate flight safety concern, according to Boeing.

A Boeing 737 Max takes off after a touch-and-go landing at Edwards Air Force Base. [Courtesy: USAF]

Challenges with a 737 Max parts supplier will likely result in a slowdown in deliveries of the aircraft, according to the Boeing Company [NYSE: BA].

Spirit AeroSystems [NYSE: SPR], the manufacturer of some of the fuselages used in Boeing jets, notified Boeing of a potential "quality issue" with parts used in certain 737 models.

"A supplier has notified us that a non-standard manufacturing process was used during the installation of two fittings in the aft fuselage section of certain 737-7, 737-8, 737-8-200 and P-8 model airplanes, creating the potential for a non-conformance to required specifications," a Boeing spokesperson told FLYING. "This is not an immediate safety of flight issue and the in-service fleet can continue operating safely. However, the issue will likely affect a significant number of undelivered 737 Max airplanes, both in production and in storage."

Boeing has notified the FAA about the issue, "And are working to conduct inspections and replace the non-conforming fittings where necessary."

"Based on the facts and data Boeing presented, the FAA validated the company’s assessment that there is no immediate safety issue," the FAA said in a statement Friday. "The FAA is in close communication with Boeing and will continue to evaluate all new affected airplanes prior to delivery."

What This Means

Boeing expects lower near-term 737 Max deliveries while this required work is completed, and they will work with their customers to update them about the changes in the delivery schedule.

The 737 Max is Boeing best selling aircraft and is used around the world by several large air carriers. Earlier this week, Boeing reported that its March deliveries for the 737 were 64 aircraft, the most deliveries since December 2022.

As a result of the parts issue announcement, Boeing stock dropped approximately 6 percent in premarket trading, and shares of Spirit AeroSystems were down 14 percent.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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