Boeing will meet 737 delivery target despite new production problem – CFO

The Boeing logo is seen at the 54th Paris International Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France, on June 18, 2023. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo Obtaining licensing rights

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing will meet its goal of delivering at least 400 737 narrowbody jets this year, despite a recently discovered production defect that has slowed deliveries of its best-selling planes, its chief financial officer said on Thursday. 737 Max.

However, Boeing will be at the “low end” of its 400-450 aircraft target, and margins in its commercial aircraft business will be negative in the third quarter due to lower deliveries and higher development costs, Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West said at a conference For investors. .

Narrowbody deliveries, which topped 100 737 aircraft in the first and second quarters, will reach only about 70 aircraft in the third quarter after a disappointing 22 737 deliveries in August, West said.

The latest supplier issue, discovered late last month, involves mounting holes in the 737’s aft pressure bulkhead that were improperly drilled and therefore misaligned or extended.

About 75% of Boeing’s 220 737s in its inventory will need to be reworked, West said, and the fix will take longer than a previous problem that involved improperly installed brackets on the 737’s vertical tail.

“There are hundreds of holes that are inspected, and there is a required step in the X-ray inspection process, which is a very important part of the aircraft,” he said.

Spirit AeroSystems (SPR.N), which makes 70% of the 737 fuselage, used an automated drilling process that would create a rectangular hole in the aft pressure bulkhead if it didn’t, Spirit CEO Tom Gentile said later on Thursday. It is implemented correctly.

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Spirit has 39 bulkheads at its plant that will need to be reworked, and 15 of them have undergone the necessary inspection to confirm which holes need to be repaired.

“We expect to complete repairs on the units at our plant by the end of November,” Gentile said. “For Boeing, it may take a little longer.”

Gentile added that the delivery of 737 fuselage pieces to Boeing in 2023 would be at the lower end of the company’s current target of 370-390 units.

(Reporting by Valerie Encina and Abhijith Ganapavaram – Preparing by Mohammed for the Arabic Bulletin) Editing by Mark Porter and Chizu Nomiyama

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Abhijith leads a team of reporters covering aviation, legacy automakers, conglomerates, transportation and travel in the US. An economics graduate, Abhijith has written stories across the manufacturing portfolio with a focus on the aviation industry. In his previous role, he was part of the team that won the Reuters Journalist of the Year award in the Speed ​​category. Contact: +91-9019785574

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