Boeing is reportedly considering taking aircraft engines from the large inventory of completed 737 MAX planes in storage and installing them on newly made MAX aircraft, to ease supply chain concerns.
With 290 737 MAX planes in storage, the manufacturer might remove CFM LEAP-1B engines to install them on new production aircraft as they roll off the final assembly line in Renton, in the United States, according to Leeham News. Boeing might also take MAX seats to reinstall them on new production jets.
The move comes amidst supply chain shortages worldwide, with engine suppliers in particular struggling to keep up with demand.
According to the Leeham report, Boeing is building up to 30 sets of counterweights for the stored aircraft. These can be used to prevent an aircraft from tipping backwards on to its tail once its heavy jet engines are removed.
Counterweights could also be used for new-production MAX aircraft in case engine manufacturer CFM is unable to deliver engines on time.
At least 140 out of 290 currently stored Boeing 737 MAXs were built for Chinese airlines. However, the country, which was the first to ground the plane in March 2019 following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, has not yet authorized the type to return for passenger operations.
For instance, China Southern Airlines (ZNH) decided to remove 100 Boeing 737 MAX planes from its near-term delivery plan, meaning that instead of 181 jets that were supposed to join the airline through 2024, it now will take only a total of 78 MAX deliveries.
Meanwhile, Airbus has swooped, securing a big order for almost 300 aircraft from China’s top three airlines.
That doesn’t help to reduce the Boeing MAX inventory. However, the larger Boeing’s inventory is, the more flexibility the manufacturer has to deliver MAX planes more quickly when needed, despite supply chain disruptions, an undisclosed industry source confirmed to Leeham.