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Boeing 737 Deliveries Halted By ‘Quality-Related Problem’

Parked Boeing 737 MAX jets at Boeing Field, most of which destined to Chinese carriers. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fangzhong Guo)

Boeing is facing fresh challenges with the delivery of some of its 737 MAX aircraft with Reuters reporting the manufacturer has ‘quality-related problems with certain components made by one of its main suppliers.’ It is reported that some deliveries of new aircraft have been halted for inspections to take place which will result in delays for airlines awaiting planes ahead of the Northern summer.

Boeing disclosed the problem on Thursday and it involves ‘the installation of two fittings that join the aft fuselage made by Spirit AeroSystems to the vertical tail, which were not attached correctly to the structure of the fuselage before it was sent to the planemaker.’ According to Reuters Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems will need to inspect a number of 737 -MAX 7, -MAX 8 and -MAX 8200 aircraft.  News of the issue caused Spirit AeroSystems shares to drop 20 percent and Boeing’s shares 7 percent on Friday.

The manufacturer had been hoping to increase the output of its most popular aircraft from 31 per month to 38 by June and 42 by January 2024. In the first quarter of 2023, Boeing delivered 111 737s and was targeting 400 of the aircraft to be delivered this year. Last month Airline Geeks reported that both Boeing and Airbus were seeking to increase their workforce of engineers by sourcing new staff in India. This was to counter the continual delays to delivery schedules that were seeing airlines and lessors exercise their right to compensation due to missed delivery deadlines.

Ryanair is Boeing’s biggest European customer for the 737 and was expecting deliveries of 24 MAX 8200s prior to the commencement of the summer holiday season in July. In the calendar year 2023, the airline was scheduled to receive 51 Boeing 737 aircraft to add to its current fleet of 540. The Irish Times reported the carrier as saying they were ‘assessing with Boeing how this will impact’ those deliveries.

The Irish Times also noted that Boeing had advised the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the issue. The manufacturer advised the FAA that the current development ‘was not an immediate “safety of flight issue”’ to aircraft already in operation and that the regulator had agreed. Reports are that the issue may go back to 2019 though some versions of the 737 use parts from a different supplier. Boeing is therefore making an assessment of the total number of aircraft impacted and it is expected that the FAA ‘is likely to issue an airworthiness directive that would mandate an inspection-and-repair regime.’

John Flett


  • John Flett

    John has always had a passion for aviation and through a career with Air New Zealand has gained a strong understanding of aviation operations and the strategic nature of the industry. During his career with the airline, John held multiple leadership roles and was involved in projects such as the introduction of both the 777-200 and -300 type aircraft and the development of the IFE for the 777-300. He was also part of a small team who created and published the internal communications magazines for Air New Zealand’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff balancing a mix of corporate and social content. John is educated to postgraduate level achieving a masters degree with Distinction in Airline and Airport Management. John is currently the course director of an undergraduate commercial pilot training programme at a leading London university. In addition he is contracted as an external instructor for IATA (International Air Transport Association) and a member of the Heathrow Community Fund’s ‘Communities for Tomorrow’ panel.

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