Boeing is currently re-evaluating its delivery targets for the 737 MAX after the discovery of another manufacturing issue.
According to FlightGlobal, the company is now looking into the problem and trying to determine whether its previous guidance of 400 to 450 Boeing 737 MAX deliveries in 2023 is still achievable. Brian West, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and executive vice president of Finance at Boeing, reiterated this delivery rate as recently as the company’s Q2 2023 results presentation of July 2023.
Spirit AeroSystems disclosed the latest manufacturing defect on August 23, 2023, following reports of a problem with the 737 fuselages’ aft bulkhead. The Tier 1 supplier for the Boeing 737 program, which also includes the P-8 Poseidon, said that “only some units are affected”.
On the same day, The Air Current reported that some 737 fuselages had “hundreds of misaligned and duplicated holes”.
“Spirit has implemented changes to its manufacturing process to address this issue. We are working closely with our customer to address any impacted units within the production system and address any needed rework,” the supplier continued. “Based upon what we know now, we believe there will not be a material impact to our delivery range for the year related to this issue.”
Spirit AeroSystems also disclosed that Boeing had determined there was no immediate flight safety concern, and therefore that the active Boeing 737 MAX and P-8 Poseidon fleet “may continue to operate”.
This is the second manufacturing issue that Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems have had to disclose during 2023. Previously, Spirit AeroSystems discovered a problem related to the manufacturing process of the aft fuselage.
When Boeing announced its Q2 2023 results, the plane-maker provided an update on a previous manufacturing defect, which was related to the joining process of the aft fuselage and the vertical tail. At the time, West reiterated its 400 to 450 delivery target, adding that the company was “now transitioning production to 38 per month and still plans to increase to 50 per month in the 2025-2026 timeframe”.