Boeing has announced that it will pause deliveries of certain models of its 737 MAX aircraft due to a supplier’s “non-standard manufacturing process” on the aft section of the fuselage. The models affected include the MAX 7, MAX 8, and the MAX 8200, but not the MAX 9. The manufacturer stated that the issue is not a safety concern and in-service planes can still fly. However, the delays could impact airlines’ plans to grow capacity, launch new routes, and replace aging aircraft. Airlines such as United, American, and Southwest have been affected by the delay, with Southwest having to amend its initial delivery expectations. Delivery delays have become a serious trend for the planemaker since 2019, with its 787 Dreamliner deliveries being paused three different times due to production flaws.
American Airlines had to adjust its summer 2023 schedule due to the delayed 787 deliveries, and the carrier had to cut some international flying in 2022 for the same reason. The production flaws that caused the delays in 787 deliveries appear similar to the issues affecting the 737 MAX aircraft deliveries. These delays could impact airlines’ plans to expand their fleets and routes, and could lead to financial losses for both Boeing and the affected airlines.
Richard Aboulafia told Insider that he does not expect the MAX delays to be as “invasive” as the Dreamliner production delays, which have been a serious problem for Boeing since 2019. However, Aboulafia also noted that nothing is certain, and the impact of the MAX delays on airlines and Boeing’s bottom line remains to be seen.