MAX Deliveries Affected By Manufacturing Issue


Boeing has stopped deliveries of some 737 MAX airliners after the discovery of noncompliant parts in structures supplied by contractor Spirit Aerosystems. Reuters is reporting that the issue is with fittings that attach the tail to the fuselage being installed incorrectly. “We have notified the FAA of the issue and are working to conduct inspections and replace the non-conforming fittings where necessary,” Boeing said in a statement. The FAA has accepted Boeing’s assessment that there is no safety-of-flight issue and the in-service aircraft can continue flying.

However, the issue has derailed Boeing’s plan to ramp up production to 38 a month from 31 and to deliver up to 400 MAXes this year. “We regret the impact that this issue will have on affected customers and are in contact with them concerning their delivery schedule,” Boeing said. The FAA is getting an AD ready to address the issue. It will likely include aircraft produced as early as 2019. Boeing shares dropped 5 percent and Spirit Aerosystems lost more than 11 percent on the news.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Bolts that hold the tail on are NON conforming, but there is NO safety of flight issue. Interesting.

  2. By BOB COX

    The Flight AA587 (Airbus A300 Nov. 12, 2001) investigation was a highly pressurized, political one, even for major airline crashes. NTSB officials said at the time that they were being heavily lobbied by Airbus and American to try to influence the board’s conclusions.

    “I’ve never been involved in an airline crash where the airline and the airframe manufacturer were so at odds,” said Slack, the Austin attorney.

    When the tail of the plane, minus the rudder, was found intact far from the rest of the wreckage, investigators had a clue as to what had happened but not why.”

  3. …American Airlines jet crashed in New York City and killed all 260 passengers and crew members, questions linger about whether the type of plane involved has flaws that could imperil other flights.

    An investigation concluded that the crash of Flight 587, on Nov. 12, 2001, in a Belle Harbor neighborhood, was largely due to pilot error. The co-pilot made overly aggressive attempts to steer the Airbus A300 as it bounced from side to side in turbulence created by another jet that had taken off ahead of it.

    Go to:

  4. So the FAA is preparing an AD that covers airplanes already in service but has accepted Boeing’s contention that no safety-of-flight issue exists? Isn’t safety-of-flight (airworthiness) the purpose of an AD?

    • It could be the difference between “is” and “will be”. There “is” no safety issue, but maybe the FAA will publish an AD that requires compliance within ten years because without the AD there “will be” a safety issue at some point.

      I don’t know if that’s the scenario here, but I’ve seen stuff like that before.