UPDATE: Spirit says 737 manufacturing errors will disrupt deliveries through July

By Bryan Corliss 

March 3, 2023 © Leeham News – The manufacturing errors its team made on Boeing 737 MAX fuselages will cost Spirit AeroSystems at least $31 million to fix, with work on the units still at the Wichita factory going on until the end of July, the company reported this morning.

But that’s just the start, Spirit executives warned.

“Additional costs are expected, including costs Boeing may assert to repair certain models of previously delivered units in their factory and warranty costs related to affected 737 units in service,” the company said in its quarterly earnings release.  

The time and cost to make those repairs will have to be determined on “a unit-by-unit analysis,” Spirit said, adding that it “cannot reasonably estimate the remaining potential costs at this time.”   

Repairs to the fuselages on hand in Wichita will cost $100,000 to $150,000 each, the company estimates. Spirit has revised its manufacturing process and implemented new quality controls, the company said.

Overall, Spirit reported an operating loss of $95 million for the quarter, which more than doubled its losses in the first quarter of 2022. The growing losses came even though Spirit increased revenues by 22% year-over-year, to $1.4 billion. 

Spirit said that since the close of the quarter on March 30, it has received $230 million in cash advances from customers, of which $180 million has come from Boeing. It will receive another $50 million in advances later this year. Spirit is to repay those advances in 2024 and 2025.

  • Some 750 737s to be inspected, may need rework
  • Spirit to increase 737 rates in August, October
  • Deliveries to Airbus to be down this year
  • ‘Fragile’ supply chain remains an issue  
  • ‘Primary object is to reward our IAM colleagues’

Some 750 737s to be inspected, may need rework

Spirit President and CEO Tom Gentile said his company has changed its production processes and has resumed shipments of 737 fuselages. Spirit also has begun to replace the improperly installed fittings on undelivered fuselages. Rework on the first of them has been completed.

Spirit has 65 737 fuselages on hand in Wichita, of which 35 are earmarked for Chinese customers that aren’t taking deliveries right now, Gentile said. Of the remaining 30, inspections revealed that 19 would need to be reworked, he said.

Gentile said Boeing has about 250 affected 737s in its inventory, at both Renton and Wichita,  that will need to be inspected. Not all of them will need rework, but all will need to be inspected.

It’s early in the process, but it’s likely that Boeing will have to do more work to correct the problems than Spirit is doing, the CEO said. That’s because Boeing will be dealing with airplanes that are substantially completed, instead of fuselages.

“The repair is the exact same type of repair, it’s just that they have more structures and systems to remove and (re-install),” Gentile said.

There are about 500 737s out in the global airline fleet that will require inspection, he said. The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to issue a directive, but it seems likely that there will be a need for specific inspections to determine whether the improperly installed fittings need to be replaced.

As a result, rework on those planes will happen “over a very long period of time,” Gentile said, “based on the flights and the cycles of each individual aircraft.”

Given all that, there’s no way of determining now exactly what this will ending costing Spirit, executives said.

The issue will cause a cash crunch for Spirit in the second quarter, Senior Vice President and CFO Mark Suchinski warned analysts.

Spirit shut down its 737 line while it worked on a fix for the problem. As a result, it will deliver 30 to 40 fewer 737 fuselages to Boeing during the quarter, he said, which will reduce revenues at exactly the same time Spirit is ordering more parts and materials to meet planned rate increases in later this year.

Spirit to increase 737 production rates in August, October

Spirit, which is currently producing 31.5 737 fuselages a month, will increase its rates in August and October to meet Boeing’s planned production increases.

The executives said Spirit will increase production to 38 fuselages a month in August, and again to 42 a month in October.

Spirit already has hired the workers it needs to produce at the higher rates, Gentile said.  “A lot of them are getting trained and on-the-job experience, so that we can hit those production rates throughout the rest of this year.”

Boeing said last week it plans to increase 737 production rates to 38 a month later this year, but on Tuesday, Howmet Aerospace CEO John Plant said his casting and fasteners company didn’t know specifics of when the rate increases would occur.

Deliveries to Airbus to be down this year

While it plans to deliver more fuselages to Boeing in the second half of the year, shipments to Airbus will be down.

Gentile said Spirit will deliver 580 A320 shipsets this year, which is down 85 from what it announced earlier. He called it “a fairly significant reduction.”

Spirit will deliver “about 60” A350 shipsets this year, which would indicate Airbus won’t increase A350 rates to six a month as previously planned. Deliveries of A220 shipsets also will be down, he said.

Spirit builds the leading and trailing edge wing components for all A320 models. It builds center section panels and wing components (front spars and fixed leading edges) for the A350.  And it supplies a number of A220 components — mid fuselages, pylons, strut-to-wing hardware and aft fairings — as well as manufacturing, assembling and integrating the planes’ composite wings.

“We’re aligned with Airbus’ schedule and we’re delivering to that,” Gentile said. “Last year, if you looked at the numbers, we over-delivered to them relative to their deliveries. So they built up a buffer and this year they do not require as many aircraft.”

Spirit is experiencing problems with its suppliers for key parts for its A220 and A350 programs, the executives said. In particular, one A220 supplier went bankrupt last year, they said.

Gentile said the A220 is “going to be very profitable for Spirit, but we have seen the schedule slide to the right … we’re seeing fewer units coming out right now.”

‘Fragile’ supply chain remains an issue

Along with the bankruptcy, Spirit has had to take work away from two suppliers who weren’t able to perform the work contracted to them.

“The supply chain is fragile,” Gentile said. “They’ve been through a very challenging crisis, the MAX grounding and the pandemic.”

Suppliers that made it through those two big hits emerged with fragile balance sheets, depleted workforces and low inventories, he explained. Then as Airbus and Boeing started, they found themselves forced to quickly hire and train workers while also buying parts and materials.

The cash conversion cycle is such that they’re not getting cash coming in right away,” Gentile said. “A lot of the smaller suppliers haven’t been able to cope with it.”

This has caused a lot of work for Spirit, Gentile said.

“We’ve probably got 75 to 80 people out in the field with our distressed suppliers,” he said. The loaned Spirit personnel are helping suppliers negotiate better terms for parts and materials, and in some cases are moving work around to help suppliers meet deadlines.

Spirit has taken in a lot of work that its suppliers couldn’t handle, the CEO said.

“We have a very large fabrication unit within Spirt,” he said. “We have a unloaded quite a bit of work from our supply chain from suppliers that were distressed and unable to perform.”

Gentile didn’t directly answer a question from an analyst about whether Spirit is providing cash to it’s supply chain partners, but said his company is “taking a lot of actions to help shore it up.”

“The supply chain is not completely stable yet,” he said. “There have been some smaller ones that we’ve been dealing with every day.”

This is likely to continue through this year, he and Suchinski said. They said they look for improvement in 2024.

‘Primary objective is to reward our IAM colleagues’

Contract talks with Spirit’s unionized touch-labor workforce in Wichita began May 1. Spirit’s contract with Local 836 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers expires June 24.

This is the first time in 13 years that the two sides have sat down to negotiate a new contract with an expiration deadline looming. Spirit workers approved a 10-year agreement in 2010, and agreed during the pandemic to a three-year extension.

Gentile said Spirit has a “very constructive and positive relationship” with Local 836, and said that the “dialog is going very well” during initial meetings.

Gentile said Spirit has crafted initial offers that were based on recent agreements IAM members have ratified with other aerospace companies, including the three-year deal between Boeing and IAM District 837 in St. Louis in August 2022, and the three-year deal between Pratt & Whitney and IAM District 26 last May.

The IAM-Boeing deal in St. Louis included 14% pay increases over three years, the elimination of a two-tier wage structure, and an $8,000 ratification bonus.

“We appreciate our IAM colleagues’ dedication and hard work, particularly over the pandemic,” Gentile said. “Our primary objective is to reward our IAM colleagues with a fair and competitive contract as we meet the demands of our customers.”

This report will be updated.


97 Comments on “UPDATE: Spirit says 737 manufacturing errors will disrupt deliveries through July

  1. ouch.. hope the issue is contained and the repairs go smooth.

    • It’s not sounding real good; has a tip-of-the-iceberg feel, to me.
      Odd that Airbus doesn’t have these repeated issues with Spirit.

      • Spirit does not make the entire fuselage for anything Airbus makes and Spirit does not make the nose section for anything Airbus.

        So a lot more can go wrong for Boeing. The outsourcing gift that keeps on giving. Not that Boeing has not made some huge mistakes as well.

        Interesting comment on manufacture process when as I understand it, the brackets came form two to three outside Spirit sources.

        Clearly their quality control monitoring of their subs did not work in this case.

        Still a whole story how a Boeing employee spotted the issue and if he could, Spirit could as well and how bad a mangled bracket was it that made that true?

        • I have to amend who spotted the issue. It looks like Spirit employee did not a Boeing employee.

          Either I misread earlier or it was stated wrong.

          • It’s been mentioned here *many times now* that it wasa Spirit employee who spotted this latest 737MAX issue, not someone at Boeing.

          • Vincent:

            Thank you for the clarification

        • Spirit makes A220 wings for Airbus (among other things).
          You don’t think it’s possible to screw up a wing…?

    • JIT from Jon.

      -> “The 2005 divestiture of Wichita to create Spirit AeroSystems “ranks as the highest misstep” Boeing has ever made, according to one retired Boeing commercial airplane development executive. It was a view shared unanimously across TAC’s interviews … “

  2. those vertical tail fittings can be reached relatively easily. But it really depends what wrong, parts that can be replaced or a more structural repair..

    • I would assume the brackets is attached to the airframe then the fin attached to various brackets.

      You have to drill out all the fin fasteners, pull the fin, drill out the fuselage fasteners, pull the bracket and then repeat.

      As the current claim is its not flight safety there must be some major redundancy.

      It seems they are not sure how many are affected or how many of the bad brackets were installed. That is a guess from the language.

  3. “In early April, a Spirit AeroSystems employee watching the assembly of 737 fuselages at the company’s sprawling Wichita, Kansas plant noticed something out of place. After some quick investigation, Spirit found that two of eight fittings underneath where the jet’s vertical fin meets the aft fuselage were installed using a manufacturing process that didn’t conform to approved specifications.”
    “The issue had been going on for the past four years and Boeing on April 14 said that it and Spirit would have to resolve the issue on every affected 737 Max and P-8A Poseidon before delivery.”
    Dave Calhoun describes this latest as “A gnarly defect”

    Now there’s a proper technical explanation from the leader of one of the largest aerospace manufacturers!

    Continuous problems on the 737, poor supplier audit oversight, continuous problems on the tanker, 787, space program and so on. Then there’s the financials…
    Anyone else see a pattern here? Evidently the FAA doesn’t.
    And the executives continue to keep their jobs.

    • “Evidently the FAA doesn’t”

      Acting chief Nolen announced just a few days ago that he was quitting the FAA.
      The organization already had no spine — and soon it will have no head, either.

      Wasn’t/isn’t the FAA supposed to be clearing each individual MAX before delivery? Looks like not too much attention was paid to detail.

      • Once again my morning is complete. Its why the 3 stooges are funny.

      • Hey Bryce

        The FAA is still accomplishing the airworthiness and ticketing of both pre delivery 737’s AND 787’s. Boeing’s ODA is basically virtual.

        I have a very good friend who retired as an FAA ASI in certification at AIR 600 in Washington DC.
        He continues to remind me that the FAA is simply just a political organization and operates much the same as Boeing.
        I have done work for Boeing directly with EASA. IMHO a much more responsible organization.
        EASA is also “fee for service” … they have a defined fee schedule and you get what you pay for ….

        Their regulatory oversight business model works and is superior to the FAA system 🤷‍♂️
        Again my opinion. Since you’re in Europe I’m sure you understand.

        • That picture of the FAA certainly chimes.

          Interesting to note that the Cantwell motion in Congress recently followed EASA’s amendments to the MAX cockpit — not the FAA’s.
          And the 777X certification process currently seems to be run by the EASA — not the FAA.

    • 4 years? Ouuuch.

      Still, well done to the sharp-eyed person who spotted the issue. It’s just possible they’ve saved Boeing and Spirit $billions and $billions in costs arising from crashes (I’m assuming that “gnarly defect” = you’d not want to rely on this, long term) or premature air frame write-offs.

      It does beg the question, what on earth was going on, and why wasn’t it caught sooner than 2023? The implication is that, but for the sharp eyes of a single person, it’d not have been spotted at all. So, how good has whatever up-lift in QC been since the MAX crashes?

      This kind of event makes my skin creep. If one has realised that one’s processes are inadequate, one needs to improve them. One needs a process to bring that about (in this case, some sort of methodical thorough reexamination of the entire QC framework I’d have thought). That the improvement process missed something significant means that there’s a strong possibility that there’s other QC howlers still there, so far undiscovered.

      An acceptable outcome would have been that some sort of continuous process improvement programme picked it up – e.g. this person’s job was to go in, look at what was going on and check. But it sounds rather more ad-hoc than that. That in turn begs the question, is there a programme of continuous improvement? It sounds like there isn’t.

      And if there isn’t a continuous improvement programme, the absolute best that can be hoped for if everyone does everything they currently do is, a status quo. However, that’s an unrealistic expectation. The only alternative is that things are continuing to slide, get worse…

      • Matthew:

        Its a complex web and I agree fully that the QC failed.

        In this case, QC at Spirit while Boeing is still responsible for the product they get from Spirit.

        Equally the FAA has oversight of Spirit. So all parties failed.

        QC can be a process (mfg of the bracket) that is so good it can’t fail or you can inspect each item and various in between (if the QC is good enough random sampling also works but that means the QC has to be very good)

        This will be the seconds escape at Spirit so the FAA may well have work to do there as well. Safety should never be a single save, there should be multiple points you catch and stop and issue. Boeing failed, the FAA failed and Spirit failed (and most of the QC steps should be in Spirits system).

        If you remember, the grounding issue in the MAX was an equipment rack that they changed a process on that escaped QC. There looks to be assumptions in the system that are not tested (oh, I see no issue with that change and we don’t have to test it). Shades of MCAS.

        One of my laughs when I was working was the fastener company that outsourced their fasteners to China and then got reports of them failing.

        Many mfgs do fine, but they set up their own factories or they have a joint venture and QC. In this case they did neither and when you do that in China, the fakes take over.

        So, instead of correcting it in China, they opened up a huge lab in the US to test batches of all fasteners coming into the US from China.

        Yep, fakes ashore, condemn them, re-order etc and you wonder, how about hiring someone and then monitoring them that has a high QC capability? Nah.

        • @TW
          The FAA does not have oversight at Spirit, Boeing does. Spirit is a Tier 1 supplier to Boeing and Airbus.
          Just like the FAA does not have oversight at Mitsubishi the wing fabricator for the 787 wings.

        • @TW, it’s hard to control things even if you own and operate the factory.

          There’s a problem in the semiconductor industry. The way it’s supposed to work is that wafers are etched, each part is tested, the good ones get packaged and sold, the bad ones get disposed of.

          Or do they? Not necessarily. I’ve seen a scam where parts (bought from perfectly reputable kitting companies) labelled as industrial spec components (i.e. the expensive ones) were in fact fab line rejects that were supposed to have been destroyed one cut from the wafer, but had been pilfered and illicitly packaged elsewhere.

          A hallmark of that particular scam is that the original fab was not in a country that one would typically associate with widespread industrial fraud – the opposite in fact. And it’s highly likely the illicit packaging was happening in another country too.

          Scams like this require insider access. It doesn’t really matter what country, how much people are paid, etc; if someone makes the right approach to the right person in one’s own company with the right amount of money in the right place, a scam will be perpetrated. To have assured manufacturing (i.e. only parts you’ve actively sold are in the market place), you basically have to assume that someone with nearly nation state resources will be trying corrupt your staff and to rip you off. One needs to be very sure of parts control, from craddle to customer or craddle to dust-scale debris, and audit it regularly. Audit puts off a lot of people from participating in scams.

          Having an anti-scam company policy – including rewards for reporting credible approaches, a policy of involving the police, etc, can incentivise staff – a good carrot to go along with the audit stick.

          Besides, if there were ever to be an actual industrial espionage case in court, you need pretty solid audit data to support a case in the first place.

          Even with something as innocuous as fasteners, if you’ve got a good high value name in that business you can bet that someone somewhere is copying your boxes, designs, the lot, and injecting parts into the marketplace.

          There’s all sorts of clever tech that can be used to mark products in hard to replicate / eradicate ways, that allows fraud detection. It’s worthwhile going out into the market and buying one’s own stuff, to see what one can hauls in. If someone is ripping off one’s own product, they need to be doing so at a scale that makes money; they’ll show up pretty quickly.

          And indeed, assuredly, handing the keys to one’s entire commercial kingdom over to third party manufacturing with little control is asking for trouble. Even if they’re honest, the people they deal with might not be…

  4. Airbus Q1 results are also just out — no doubt LNA will run an article on these.

    AB’s Commercial Division Q1 revenue from 127 deliveries was €8.11B, and (adjusted) EBIT was €580M.
    This yields the following averaged unit figures:
    – Revenue per plane: €63.86M ($70.24M)
    – EBIT per plane: €4.57M ($5.02M)

    The corresponding Q1 figures over at BCA (130 deliveries) were:
    – Revenue per plane: $51.5M.
    – “EBIT” per plane: $261.6k (before debt servicing costs).
    – Earnings *loss* per plane: $4.73M (after debt servicing costs).

    So, AB compared to BA in Q1, per plane:
    – 36% more revenue.
    – 17.5 *times* as much EBIT.

    Isn’t it interesting that AB can make a tidy profit from 127 deliveries, whereas BA makes a fat loss from 130 deliveries?

    • Small correction: AB’s EBIT per plane was 19.2 times that of BA — an even more spectacular difference.

    • It is interesting, something which we have become accustomed to, and the situation is not going to improve for Boeing unless they magic up some way of making their aircraft better quality and more cheaply.

      • BA needs to stop the unsustainable discounting.
        Discounts of 60+ % seem to have become the new norm.

        • I have a mission for you, Agent Bryce – Planespotters expert.

          It would be interesting to know

          1) Those 113 Max’s that were delivered during Q1; who did they go to? I’m not asking for each and every one, but maybe a top 5 or so airlines.


          2) When were those contracts negotiated with BA? Pre-crash? Pre covid? After the whole mess?

          Are these old deals that Boeing is taking losses on, or are they new ones? Both?

          • Hi Frank,

            First up: 35 of the 130 deliveries (27%) were from inventory. Many of these were whitetails — which, by definition, were very heavily discounted.
            Biggest MAX receivers by far were United and Southwest, followed at a significant distance by TUI, Ryanair and Alaska (and Akasa — whitetails).

            All of these airlines put in their first orders in the 2012-2014 timeframe — though the MAX-8 order from Southwest was much later, IIRC. So, it looks as if BA was already giving overly-steep discounts years ago (plus: the loss on whitetails is probably steeper than we imagined).

          • “35 of the 130 deliveries (27%) were from inventory.”

            Checking first flights and apart for US Navy P-8s all first flights were in last months of 2022 or early 2023. So not the stored planes from the period when deliveries halted. In fact supply chain holdups are reducing deliveries – which wouldnt happen for ‘inventory’

            Note also that China is getting 777Fs delivered ……hmmm, the Great Wall against Boeing is again crumbling.

          • @ DoU
            China has been taking 777Fs since December last year.
            It’s BA’s “distressed models” — MAX and 787 — that they don’t seem to be very eager about.


            “not the stored planes from the period when deliveries halted.”

            LN7273 : United : Delivered Apr : 4.1 years old
            LN7620 : United : Delivered Apr : 3.9 years old
            LN7260 : United: Delivered Mar : 4.1 years old
            LN7573 : United: Delivered Mar : 3.9 years old
            LN7488 : WTC : Delivered Mar : 4.2 years old
            LN 7616 : WTC : Delivered Mar : 4.1 years old
            LN 7653 : TWC : Delivered Mar : 3.8 years old

            and so forth for Feb and Jan also…

    • And just to confirm we’re talking about an apples to apples comparison, here:

      Three months ended
      March 31
      Commercial Airplanes 2023
      737 113
      747 1
      767 1
      777 4
      787 11
      Total 130



      Single Aisle – 116
      A330 – 6
      A350 – 5
      Total 127



      Boeing delivered 17 higher priced, higher margin widebodies, while Airbus delivered 11.

      This makes it even worse, for Boeing.

      • Thank you for pointing that out.
        Also worth dwelling on: BA doesn’t really have to offer sharp pricing on new widebody freighters, since it currently has that market essentially to itself. So it should be earning well on those.

        There’s a countering effect from the fact that many of the AB narrowbodies were A321s — which are bigger and pricier thanthe MAX-8/MAX-9.
        On the other hand, there were also A220s in the mix, and they are commensurately cheaper — as well as making a negative contribution to EBIT.

    • -> Airbus updates production rate plans in its Q1 earnings:
      A220 continuing towards rate 14 by middle of the decade.
      A320 Family rate 65 by end of 2024, rate 75 in 26.
      A321XLR EIS is expected to take place in Q2 24.
      A330 rate 4 in 24
      A350 rate 9 end of 25.
      A350F EIS slips to 26.


      • Pedro

        On the A220 – middle of the decade is in 2 years. They’ve had some ads here, looking for a bunch of staff (800) as I recall. Alabama isn’t doing all that great.

        i’m slightly skeptical.

        BTW – congrats on getting out of the first round. Florida next?

    • AB and BA use different accounting remember .

      Boeing ‘could’ be making profits on a unit basis that Airbus uses but since they only show program accounting for their quarterly ( public) results they cant do a swithceroo from one to the other just to juice the results ( as Airbus does for ‘new’ airliner programs, likely the next cab on the program accounting rank will be the long delayed XLR).

      So the basic answer is your comparisons are worthless……hmmm

      • Ah yes, more inspiring deliberations from our accounting expert — who had to be told that BA burned $3.8B in cash in Q1 🙈

        • And how much was Airbus free cash flow loss for Q1 2023

          ‘Consolidated free cash flow before M&A and customer financing was € -889 million ”
          hmmmmm…. our self appointed book keepers cant keep up

          • Today’s assignment:
            Explain to us — in your own words — why cash flow is less important to company A than company B, where:
            – Company A is high in cash and low in debt.
            – Company B is low in cash and high in debt.


        • But but but

          I thought BA just had better deposits from airlines than AB? That’s what I heard last financial statement…

          • Don’t forget the magical “market cap effect”.
            BA managed to buy market cap from First Republic last week, so now it’s really set up to beat AB 😉


      • “Boeing ‘could’ be making profits on a unit basis … ”

        Did it happen? Guess not.
        BTW where can I find BA’s unit cost accounting result in its “end of year” statement??

          • @DoU

            That’s what you called BA’s “end of year” statement? 🤣

            Under unit cost accounting, BCA would report a loss of:

            1Q23 (1,871) ($ in millions)
            2022 (4,704)
            2021 (3,291)
            2020 (5,401)
            2019 (3,501)

            On what basis you claimed that BA “could” make a profit under unit cost accounting?

        • About those Q1 numbers:

          From the BA Website:

          2023 1Q23
          Program Accounting (615)
          Unit-Cost Accounting * (1,871)

          So BA declared a loss of $615 million using program accounting, in Q1. Had they been using unit cost, it WOULD have been $1.871 billion.

          I guess that’s what the deferred production balance is for…

          And sure enough:

          At March 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022, commercial aircraft programs inventory included the following amounts related to the 737 program: deferred production costs of $3,913 and $2,955

          A few other bits here and there and presto-magico, it’s added into inventory and is an asset instead of an expense that shows up on the I/S.

          • Thanks for this accurate Boeing financial info.

    • Hey Bryce

      Not interesting. It’s just that Airbus is a much better run company… and it shows.

    • As well as all the MAXs delivered in the past 4 years…

      • No, they have to determine which ones are impacted and that looks to involve an inspection.

        Not all the mfg fuselages in a possible group (-8/P-8) are affected.

        Interesting that the P-8 is involved as that is a different fuselage.

        • P-8 is the same fuselage – for NG and Max- and comes down the same Spirit production line ( with some differences for the airborne refuelling the belly weapons bay and tail cone)
          Its the wings that are carried over from the NG and are built on the last remaining NG wing jig and uses the CFM-56 engines

          • No, there were some differences in the fuselage, apparently the fin attachment is the same.

            I believe all the P-8 mods are done after the fuselage is made at the conversion center. (E-7 as well)

          • No E-7s have been built using brand new fuselages since the NG went out of production, its used airframes that have been converted since since ( First rollout was 2002). Although the USAF may be getting new builds done the P-8 way as their order is large enough
            Boeing specifically designed the P-8 to come down the same fuselage line at Wichita as all other 737 with the changed sections built in.
            There is no fuselage conversion at the Boeing Field or Renton site , thats for the attaching the wing , tail interiors and electronics etc. Main changes like the fuselage bomb bay arrive in Seattle already fitted.
            I think its a great idea to build structure once rather than the traditional method of modifying after it comes out of FAL.

  5. Spirit builds the A220 centre fuselage ?

    Thats not how it started out
    ‘The centre fuselage of Bombardier’s new CSeries aircraft will be built by a subsidiary of a state-owned Chinese company.
    Bombardier and Shenyang Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of of China Aviation Industry Corp., made the announcement Tuesday in Farnborough, U.K.’ -CBC

    I do seem to remember Shenyang caused delays for the initial builds and to keep on track it was switched for a while . Looks like it became permanent.
    So sad …

    • Well I am sure the Chinese are keeping their Spirits up making C919!

      You know, the aircraft that is not flying routes yet let alone an mfg flow.

      Kick back and enjoy the extended Tea Break (I can appreciate that as I don’t drink coffee)

      • “You know, the aircraft that is not flying routes yet let alone an mfg flow.”

        A bit like the MAX-7, MAX-10 and 777X in that regard 😏

        • Yes, casting aspersions on other manufacturers -especially hungry new entrants- right now might not be the best approach for Boing.


          • Particularly when those new entrants are being deliberarely starved of engine spare parts — thus prompting accelerated flight testing of a domestic engine alternative.

            4 years after EIS, PW still can’t put a working narrowbody engine on the market — the Chinese should take inspiration from that 😏

          • @Vincent

            Exactly. Look what the Boeing lawsuit on the original Bombardier CS Series (now the A220) got them 😂
            Or should say what it did for Airbus!!

        • Have those planes been certified like the new C320 – made in China

          Wasnt using ‘9’s meant to be auspicious or ‘make you wealthy’ or something

          • Well, the GoFirst planes are all certified — but they’re still sitting on the ground due to lack of engine parts.

            And, seeing as you ask: no, those 3 BA models haven’t yet been certified — embarrassing, isn’t it?
            One of them doesn’t even have a TIA…

  6. ‘Pratt Ramps Up Overhaul Capacity Amid Engine-Reliability Struggles’:

    “We are not yet at the level we and our customers expect,” said Chris Calio, President and COO of Pratt & Whitney parent Raytheon Technologies, on a recent earnings call. “This has put stress on the operations of the fleet. We continue to develop upgrades from the current [PW1000G] configuration to improve durability. We are also expanding our [overhaul] capacity and working to reduce shop visit turnaround times to improve service availability.”..”


  7. News is of a major lawsuit just filed in the States against PW by an Indian airlines claiming to have had to replace over 500 units!
    Odds ore PW will need to address the underlying issues ASAP, which should logically impact negatively the numbers produced.
    This might put a crimp in AB’s projections, and stress CFM to produce more LEAPs, as well as decide what scarce availability allocations should be to B and AB. Perhaps they may favor the buyer who pays in time?

    • P&W will be pedaling as fast as they can and maybe we will get the story on the issues and why the delay but right now, we just know they have issues with the engine and vague only on the bottleneck. P&W clearly is hurt on this front and they are diverting a lot of engine build to replace engines and at some point that should balance and the excess then goes back into production.

      CFM is constrained as well and a sudden burst of orders will mean undelivered.

      I saw that with FedEx. UPS was going on strike and it did them no good as it was Xmas and they were maxed out and could barely and sometimes not meet the shipments for their current customers and none available for others.

      Sure you can spend a lot of money for unusual events and then the profits are hit and they average it as best they can at the best cost they can manage.

      • Go Airlines has 75 A 320 NEO in its fleet for the last few years
        IF they went through over 500 engines during that time that equates to perfectly s,,,,y time on wing – a very major issue indeed.
        Scott, LN has been peculiarly silent on this issue of new engine wear and tear. Surely you guys must have some inside dope and that subject is well worth a separate “pontification”

        • Actually LN has been highlighting that recently.

          Its a hard one to track as its between the Airlines and engine mfgs and you can’t always get data.

          Both the LEAP and GTF have been in service long enough to see what the long term wear and tear aspects really are vs the forecast.

          There are only 8000 hours in a year so you can only test a maximum 8000 hours and that is unrealistic as you have down time and how much do you learn just running it (and how much fuel goes down the tube?)

          As RR found out with the Trent 1000, it can take years in service before issues show up.

          We are just seeing that now.

          We also see the consequence of fuel efficiency vs reliability and the CFM-56 had worked itself into an uber reliable engine (as did the V2500).

          I saw the same thing at work. They tried to push efficiency and then they paid the price of a lot more tech visits so get it to work if it ever did.

          In one case I turned a feature off as they were far more concerned with maintain a spec temp than the efficient operation allowed as it the super efficient part needed a wide band to work in.

          In another case they could not tune out on and off operation and there will be a price for that when compressors fail.

          Software was so complex only the factory techs understood it and as they never paid to have one up, we never found out if you could tune it right or not.

  8. Everyone believes there’s an unsatiable demand for new aircraft in the next two years while bank failures pop up left, right and centre?? (Especially BA with its reliance on U.S. customers.)

    • I agree that there’s a recessionary event on the cards — though not in all parts of the world.

    • Pedro, I don’t quite understand this supposedly insatiable demand
      for new aircraft either, especially after the curious events of early 2020, and the consequent bailouts of the Very Rich (CARES Act
      is exhibit #1).

      How many people realize that the world’s top 500 persons somehow more than doubled their wealth since early 2020, at the same time as small businesses were collapsed on a massive scale?

      funny ol’ world..

  9. The Fin attachment issue is most interesting as they have to fix any not delivered but the ones in service get an inspection and then only fixed if they develop cracks.

    That is not unusual though usually is an engineering aspect that did not anticipate and they found out when in service and made SB to deal with it.

    Aloha was in that basket. They failed to do the inspections correctly if at all.

    If a growing number develop the cracks then you might see a Pickle Fork like replacement program.

    • “…but the ones in service get an inspection and *then only fixed if they develop cracks.*”

      Got a link for that?

      • My question, as well. That’s the first I heard of that approach
        on the latest Boeing 737MAX issues.

        • I suspect that this may turn out to be another assertion/fantasy in the recently-exhibited “wing join category” 🙈

          • That whole thing from Wing-Join was quite something, wasn’t it, though built out of.. nothing. Wasn’t actual fraud by Airbus asserted on its basis?

            We’ll see if evidence is provided for this new claim, so we can all be the wiser.

      • OMG. Already someone contemplating another “fraud” after MCAS?

        • It’s just That Guy doing the usual. I should not have been drawn in. We’ll see if he supports his claim (like the unsupportable wing-join nonsense that he promulgated for many months..).

      • Hello Bryce,

        Re:”“…but the ones in service get an inspection and *then only fixed if they develop cracks.*”

        Got a link for that?”

        See the excerpt below from the 5-10-23 Aviation Week Aerospace Digest story at the link after the excerpt.

        “Two of eight attachment fittings per aircraft do not conform to Boeing’s requirements and must be replaced on undelivered aircraft. In-service aircraft are expected to require inspections and, if needed, replacements of fittings that show damage.”


  10. I can’t find any evidence at all for “..then only fixed if they develop cracks.” for in-service MADMAXs. Why am I not surprised- as though EASA and CAAC would go along with that! I won’t mention the other, captured

    • Vincent:

      That is because you were not looking for it.

      You clearly lack the knowledge how common it is for inspections to be used in place of a fix. Some are fine and some are iffy.

      I am no expert on the tech issues, I do know that aircraft like the A380 has the same issues (wings) and it was deemed fine until they could schedule a fix (in that case a fix was required)

      The AHJ including EASA have accepted that the 787 does not require fixes as long as the two tolerance aspects are not on the same spot.

      The A380 wing broke at 147% and it was allowed a pass as it broke where they predicted it would and they were allowed a plate insert to beef up that spot.

      I fully agreed with that one.

      In some cases a fix is allowed to wait until a heavy maint check. A320 had one of those and I thought it was a really bad decision as it had to do with work around on the controls that was non standard (a bit like the MAX). My wife flew on one of those. It was software and you can’t upgrade the software in a couple of weeks?

      Whatever you do, don’t look at the AD for the aircraft you fly on, its far scarier than you know.

      • Why are you going on about everything on Earth – A380, 787, A320- *except* the topic at hand- your claim directly above, that Boing only has to fix in-service 737MAXs that *develop cracks* at the fuselage / vertical stabilizer joint? Yes, I sure *did* look for evidence that that’s true. Why not provide a link? (a guess: because it doesn’t exist.)

      • Okay, TW, so you haven’t provided a link to support your assertion above that the fin fasteners on in-service MAXs will be “only fixed if they develop cracks.”

        We’ll therefore put this assertion into the same category as your recent fantasy regarding wing join at AB.

        Next question: did you deliberately make this up, or did you “confuse” the matter with something else?

    • Pedro

      Your ridiculous anti-US propaganda has nothing to do with it. We don’t care. Come on, get back on topic please….

  11. Bruce

    …”A bit like the MAX-7, MAX-10 and 777X in that regard…”
    The 737MAX -10 is not yet certified (but it is coming soon) and its order book would be enviable by Comac

    And kindly wait for Ryanair’s next announcement!…

  12. The problem 737MAX presents no immediate danger.

    Sorry for the Boeing haters


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