Boeing Orders and Deliveries Halted With the Controversy Over Panel Flying off Mid Flight

Boeing Plane (Credits: Boeing)

Boeing experienced a decline in aircraft orders and deliveries in January, partly due to the aftermath of a midflight incident involving a fuselage panel blowout on one of its 737 Max 9s, overshadowing the company’s strong performance in 2023.

In January, Boeing delivered 27 planes, marking its lowest count since September, compared to 67 deliveries in December. The company secured orders for three Boeing 737 Max planes but also recorded three cancellations.

These delivery figures aligned roughly with analysts’ expectations. This comes after a robust December, during which Boeing sold 371 planes. Meanwhile, rival Airbus handed over 30 planes in January.

Boeing Plane Whose Door Panel Blew Off. (Credits: AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

Boeing executives have been working to reassure airline customers, investors, and regulators following the Jan. 5 incident involving Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, where a door plug blew out midflight, causing significant damage but no serious injuries.

Preliminary findings from the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that bolts securing the unused exit door panel were missing from the fuselage piece, which had been removed and reinstalled at Boeing’s 737 Max factory in Renton, Washington.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun pledged to review manufacturing processes, while the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a pause on Boeing’s planned production increases until quality control issues are addressed.

Boeing Plane (Credits: Boeing)

Boeing disclosed earlier this month that it would need to rectify approximately 50 undelivered Max planes due to incorrectly drilled holes, another production setback.

The FAA is conducting an audit of Boeing’s production, with about two dozen inspectors stationed at the Renton factory and in Wichita, Kansas, where Spirit Aerosystems manufactures the Max fuselages.

Boeing anticipates a steady rate of 38 Max planes per month in the second half of the year, despite periodic pauses in production to accommodate audits and inspections.

FAA Administrator Whitaker is visiting the Renton plant this week. Notably, Boeing’s January deliveries included three Max planes to Chinese customers, marking the first such delivery in about four years.

Mason Williams
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