Boeing, the aviation giant, has been hit by yet another problem as it was revealed that the installation of fittings on the rear of its 737 MAX family of airplanes did not follow the required standard. A supplier has reported this latest manufacturing issue, and Boeing has notified the FAA and is working to replace any non-conforming fittings as necessary. However, the company has stressed that this is not an immediate safety issue and that the in-service fleet can continue to operate safely. Nevertheless, the problem will result in lower near-term deliveries until the required work is completed.
This setback for Boeing comes at a time when the aviation industry is already facing a shortage of jets, making it particularly challenging for the company to address this latest issue. The manufacturing problem affects the MAX 7, MAX 8, and MAX 8200 airplanes and the P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.
The impact of this problem on the company’s performance has been reflected in a more than 5% fall in its shares in after-hours trade. Furthermore, it represents the latest in a series of delays for Boeing, with its deliveries of the widebody 787 Dreamliner having been paused earlier this year due to a data analysis problem. Only last month, US transportation regulators cleared the company to resume these deliveries.
Despite these challenges, Boeing has reported a jump in airplane deliveries for new jetliners in the first quarter of 2023, many of these being the 737 Max model purchased by US carriers Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. This surge in demand for air travel has come as Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, resulting in increased competition among airlines for resources to meet this demand.
Boeing has been striving to recover from the impact of the worldwide grounding of its 737 Max passenger jet for over a year following two fatal accidents that claimed the lives of 346 people. It later emerged that design flaws in the flight control software had triggered the accidents.