Major aeronautics firm Boeing is once again making headlines for all the wrong reasons, with fresh revelations of production-line problems that will delay the delivery of around 50 aircraft and renew concerns about its quality control processes.

Particularly humiliating for the company is the loss of trust it once enjoyed, with Emirates, one of Boeing’s largest customers, now preparing to send its own engineers to monitor the aircraft-maker’s production line for the first time.

“They have got to instil this safety culture which is second to none,” said Emirates president Sir Tim Clark. “They’ve got to get their manufacturing processes under review so there are no corners cut etc … this is the last chance saloon.”

The latest issue concerns a potential issue at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the fuselages of the 737 Max. A Spirit employee informed Boeing that two holes may not have been drilled to Boeing’s exact requirements, forcing the company to re-do the work on around 50 aircraft that have not yet been delivered.

“While this potential condition is not an immediate flight safety issue and all 737’s can continue operating safely, we currently believe we will have to perform rework on about 50 undelivered airplanes,” said Stan Deal, head of Boeing’s commercial aircraft unit, in a memo circulated to employees.

Boeing has been plagued with production issues at its suppliers’ as well as its own factories, driving huge losses for the company as deliveries continue to be delayed. Last week, it reported that it lost $2.2 billion (€2.04 billion) in 2023, with losses over the last five years amounting to $26.7 billion (€24.8 billion).

The most recent incident involving a Boeing plan happened just last month, when the door of an Alaska Airlines flight aboard a 737 Max 9 blew out, leaving a hole in the side of the aircraft, to passengers’ horror.

Boeing is now under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has banned the company from expanding production of the 737 Max.


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