Boeing pauses deliveries of some 737 MAXs amid new supplier problem

A Boeing 737 Max aircraft during a display at the Farnborough International Airshow, in FarnboroughA Boeing 737 Max aircraft during a display at the Farnborough International Airshow, in Farnborough, Britain, July 20, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) – Boeing (BA.N) has paused deliveries of some 737 MAXs as it grapples with a new supplier quality problem involving noncompliant fittings, the company disclosed on Thursday.

The problem, which affects a portion of the 737 MAX family of airplanes, including the MAX 7, MAX 8 and MAX 8200 airplanes as well as the P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft based on the 737 NG, is not a safety of flight issue and in-service planes can continue to operate, Boeing said.

The U.S. planemaker declined to comment on whether the problem will force Boeing to roll back plans to boost 737 production this year as it races to deliver at least 400 MAXs in 2023.

However, the issue will likely affect a "significant" number of undelivered 737 MAX airplanes both in production and in storage, and could result in lowered 737 MAX deliveries as the company acknowledged.

The problem involves two fittings that join the aft fuselage made by Spirit Aerosystems to the vertical tail, which were not attached correctly. Certain versions of the aircraft, like the MAX 9, use fittings from different suppliers that have not been found to be nonconforming.

Boeing said it is still determining the exact number of aircraft impacted by the issue, and production of the MAX continues.

Spirit said it is working to develop an inspection and repair for the affected fuselages.

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