Problem on the fuselage of the Boeing 737 MAX: the company announces that it has postponed the delivery of around fifty planes due to a qualitative defect

Boeing said this Sunday, January 4, that it would carry out additional work on around fifty 737 MAX aircraft that have not yet been delivered, which should cause the postponement of deliveries in the short term, after its supplier Spirit AeroSystems discovered two improperly drilled holes in the fuselage.

The planemaker confirmed the information in response to a query from Reuters, which learned from industry sources that a spacing problem was discovered in holes drilled in a window frame. However, he said the safety of the aircraft was not affected and the current 737 planes could continue to fly.

In a letter, the general manager of Boeing’s civil aircraft division, Stan Deal, said that a supplier notified the group last Thursday of a compliance problem in certain 737 fuselages. “If this does not pose an immediate flight safety issue and all 737s can continue to operate safely, we believe we will need to rework approximately 50 undelivered aircraft,” he wrote.

The inspections are focusing on the potentially incorrect positioning of two holes in a window frame assembled by Spirit, industry sources said. A qualitative defect has so far been found in 22 fuselages, or nearly half of the 47 aircraft inspected at that time in the production line between Boeing and Spirit, these sources said, adding that this defect could be present on some 737 aircraft in service.

The information communicated by Stan Deal to Boeing employees suggests that inspections are progressing quickly and that the problem affects only a minority of the hundreds of fuselages in production. If such notifications between an aircraft manufacturer and its supplier are common, this problem occurs in a context of increased surveillance of the 737 MAX.

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