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Manufacturing Flaw Pushes Boeing to Modify 50 Newly Built Planes with Misdrilled Fuselages

Boeing is set to rework around 50 undelivered planes due to discovered fuselage engineering issues.

This development was announced following an accident last month that increased scrutiny on the aerospace giant.

CEO’s Inspection

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CEO Stan Deal plans to spend several days at Boeing’s Renton, Washington factory.

He will inspect undelivered planes for potential quality issues.

Supplier Notification

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A supplier, Spirit AeroSystems, alerted Boeing to issues in the 737 MAX aircraft fuselages.

An employee noticed that two holes might not meet Boeing’s precise requirements.

Safety and Rework

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Boeing stated that while the potential condition is not an immediate flight safety issue and all 737s can continue operating safely.

They believe they will have to perform rework on about 50 undelivered airplanes. 

Delivery Delays

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This fuselage issue could delay near-term 737 deliveries.

Boeing emphasizes its commitment to delivering perfect airplanes every time.

Spirit AeroSystems’ Role

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Spirit AeroSystems, the sole 737 fuselage supplier, confirmed the issue was found by a team member.

They remain in close communication with Boeing.

Intense Scrutiny

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Following a January incident involving a Boeing 737 Max 9’s emergency landing, scrutiny of Boeing intensified.

A door plug issue caused rapid cabin depressurization, injuring passengers.

FAA’s Response

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The FAA grounded 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes as a result.

It also informed Boeing of a halt on any production expansion of the MAX aircraft to enhance quality control.

Investigating Manufacturing Practices

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The FAA is investigating Boeing’s manufacturing practices, including those involving Spirit AeroSystems.

Boeing informed employees of the need to uphold rigorous quality standards.

Impact on Airlines

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The grounding required airlines to conduct thorough inspections and maintenance before returning planes to service.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have started to bring their 737 Max 9 aircraft back into operation.

Alaska Airlines’ Stand

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Alaska Airlines vowed to hold Boeing accountable for the grounding’s impact, estimated at $150 million.

They expect compensation for the profit impact and have pledged to raise the quality bar on Boeing.

United Airlines Seeks Alternatives

Credit: SAN FRANCISCO, USA – MAY 20 2015:United Airlines planes in San Francisco International Airport.It is the world’s largest airline when measured by number of destinations served. — Photo by lucidwaters

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby mentioned reevaluating their reliance on Boeing.

The Max 9 grounding has prompted them to consider planning without the Max 10.

Southwest’s Delivery Adjustments

Austin, Texas – February 2023: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet being pushed back from the airport terminal by a small tractor for take off.

Southwest Airlines reduced its expected Boeing aircraft deliveries due to the 737 Max 7 model’s certification issues.

This reflects broader concerns over Boeing’s delivery schedules and aircraft quality.

Industry-Wide Quality Oversight

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Airlines are taking proactive steps to ensure Boeing’s production meets quality standards.

Alaska Airlines is enhancing its validation team, while Emirates plans to send engineers to observe production processes.

Boeing’s Commitment

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Boeing’s actions to address fuselage issues affirm its dedication to quality and safety in aviation.

Their efforts reflect a broader industry commitment to excellence and reliability.

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