Boeing's Trouble with 737 Planes: What it Means for Deliveries and Stocks
Boeing's 737 Max faces delays due to fuselage defects. Learn about the impact on deliveries and stock performance amid FAA scrutiny.
Boeing Co. has faced another hurdle in its manufacturing process, this time related to incorrectly drilled holes in the fuselage of its 737 Max aircraft. The discovery of these errors, attributed to a supplier, may further disrupt deliveries on a program already under scrutiny from regulators due to quality issues.
In a message from Boeing's commercial chief Stan Deal to employees, it was revealed that around 50 undelivered 737 jets will need adjustments to correct the flawed rivet holes. Although the specific supplier responsible for the problem was not named, a representative from fuselage supplier Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. acknowledged being aware of the issue and confirmed plans for necessary repairs.
The need for inspections and subsequent repairs is expected to prolong the timeline for near-term aircraft deliveries, as outlined in Deal's memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg News.
"This is the only appropriate course of action given our unwavering commitment to delivering flawless airplanes every time," emphasized Deal in his communication.
This latest setback adds to a series of manufacturing challenges Boeing has faced, including a recent incident involving a panel blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 Max. Increased scrutiny from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has resulted in production restrictions on the 737 until quality standards are raised.
Boeing's shares experienced a 1.6% decline in premarket US trading on Monday, contributing to a year-to-date decrease of 20%, the most significant decline on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Similarly, Spirit Aero, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, also saw a 1.6% decrease in shares, reflecting a 12% decline since the beginning of 2024.
The issue disclosed over the weekend is linked to previous glitches associated with Boeing's former aerostructures unit. Past challenges, such as a drilling error on an aft pressure bulkhead supplied by Spirit Aero, and a separate issue with tail-fin fittings, have affected the production schedule of the 737 Max.
In addressing the latest setback, Deal clarified that while the issue does not pose an immediate flight safety risk, it underscores the impact of incomplete work within Boeing's production ecosystem. To mitigate such challenges, Boeing has instructed a major supplier to halt shipments until all necessary work is satisfactorily completed.
"While this delay in shipment will impact our production schedule, it will ultimately enhance overall quality and stability," affirmed Deal.