Boeing Reports New Problem on 737 Production Line

Image – Spirit AeroSystems

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal told employees in a message posted February 4th that the 737 program will spend several days in the Renton factory to focus on quality improvement, including inspecting some undelivered airplanes for a potential nonconformance prior to delivery.

Deal said that last Thursday a supplier notified Boeing of a new problem in some 737 fuselages after an employee at a supplier told his manager that two holes may not have been drilled exactly to Boeing’s requirements.

Deal noted that the issue does not constitute an immediate flight safety issue and all 737s can continue operating safely, but Boeing believes it will have to perform rework on about 50 undelivered airplanes prior to delivery.

This issue could delay some near-term 737 deliveries, Deal said. Boeing is setting aside in the 737 program will allow time for its teams to complete the inspections and, if needed, perform the necessary rework.

Deal also noted that many Boeing employees have voiced frustration with travelled work and how unfinished jobs – either from suppliers or within its own facilities- can ripple through the production line. Deal said all jobs must be completed at their assigned position, both at Boeing and at its suppliers.

“We recently instructed a major supplier to hold shipments until all jobs have been completed to specification. While this delay in shipment will affect our production schedule, it will improve overall quality and stability,” the message said.

Boeing’s 737 program employees submitted more than 1,000 improvement ideas during the company’s Quality Stand Down. It is reviewing the feedback and prioritizing ideas it can implement immediately.