Spirit AeroSystems production snags cause Boeing aircraft delivery delays

Spirit AeroSystems production snags cause Boeing aircraft delivery delays

August 31, 2023

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Aircraft supplier Spirit AeroSystems is dealing with a new production issue on Boeing 737 Max models, leading to reported delivery delays for the aerospace company. 

Spirit issued a statement last week confirming the existence of a “quality issue” on certain models of the 737 fuselage. The issue is related to elongated fastener holes on the rear pressure bulkhead, but because Spirit uses multiple downtier suppliers for the part, only some units were affected, according to the company. 

“We are working closely with our customer to address any impacted units within the production system and address any needed rework,” Spirit said in an Aug. 23 statement. “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.”

The aircraft manufacturer noted that it is implementing changes to its production process to address the issue, but did not specify what those changes would entail. 

Boeing, one of Spirit’s top customers, said there is no immediate safety issue as a result of the defect and that 737 aircraft currently in-flight could remain in use, according to Spirit’s release. However, the aircraft giant confirmed that the issue has led to delivery delays, including on a Boeing 737 Max order slated for delivery to Malaysia Airlines on Aug. 28, Reuters reported. 

This is the second publicly announced manufacturing issue related to Spirit’s fuselage components in recent months. In April, the manufacturer also found quality issues on the rear fuselage, leading Boeing to send money and manufacturing assistance to get production back on track. 

Boeing noted at the time that the issue would impact its delivery timeline for several months, based on fuselage part availability. 

As manufacturing stabilized over the summer however, Boeing planned to increase production to 38 aircraft per month. The company has yet to announce if last week’s snag from Spirit will impact this target.

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