Boeing and Spirit are expanding checks for a 737 MAX manufacturing flaw

Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems have extended their ongoing inspections of a defect in production affecting 737 Max 8 airplanes, according to a statement from Boeing on Thursday. In August, Boeing identified a quality issue with its popular 737 MAX aircraft that involved a supplier, Spirit, resulting in improperly drilled holes on the aft pressure bulkhead made by an automated drill. 


The inspections have been expanded to cover hand-drilled holes, and The Air Current, a trade publication, was the first to report the issue. "We are taking all necessary measures to ensure that each aircraft meets our standards and regulatory requirements before being delivered," Boeing stated. Before announcing its earnings on October 25, the corporation refused to comment further on the scope of the most recent issue or if it will be able to achieve its goal of delivering at least 400 737 jets in 2023. 

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According to The Air Current, Boeing informed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of its initial findings earlier this week, as well as customers who are already experiencing delays in receiving their 737 Max 8s. The FAA told Reuters that it is "aware of the issue and is working it through our regular oversight process. There is no immediate safety concern." Spirit stated that it is continuing to work closely with Boeing to address any rework related to the aft pressure bulkhead. Following the discovery of the manufacturing defect, deliveries of Boeing's best-selling 737 MAX fell in September to the lowest level since August 2021. 


Brian West, Boeing's Chief Financial Officer, stated in September that the company was still on track to meet the "low end" of its 400-450 jet target for annual 737 deliveries, despite the aft pressure bulkhead issue. However, he stated that about 165 MAXs on the company's production line would require time-consuming X-ray inspections before being handed over to customers. As a result, Boeing's stock fell 1.8% in after-hours trading.

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