Production problems at Boeing extended to summer travel

Boeing's latest setback with production problems means the airline will have fewer planes than expected to handle the many travelers this summer.

CEO David Calhoun had just that to say on Tuesday inspections and repairs relating to unapproved parts of the airframe would prevent the company from delivering dozens of 737 Max jets to airlines in time for the summer. But that would not affect plans to increase production rates of the best-selling aircraft, he said.

Calhoun said during Boeing's annual shareholder meeting that the delivery delays would remove about 9,000 seats from the flight schedule this summer.

The CEO did not provide the number of aircraft used in the calculation, but the usual seat count on the mid-sized Max suggests that around 50 aircraft are expected to be delivered late.

The situation is reminiscent of last year, when a manufacturing defect stopped Boeing from delivering the larger 787 planes, and the airline dropped several flights and route.

Boeing hopes to increase production of the Max, that is discontinued at the end of 2019 after two planes were involved in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people. Production has not returned to pre-accident levels.

Boeing disclosed last week that subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems uses a “non-standard manufacturing process” in the kit where the tail is attached to the fuselage of most Max jet models built since 2019. Boeing later said the issue could cause delays in production and deliveries. of the “significant figures” of the aircraft.

Calhoun reiterated the company's position that the equipment does not pose a safety concern for aircraft that are already carrying passengers. The Federal Aviation Administration has not ordered airlines to do anything with the jet.

Boeing said preliminary results showed that its shareholders voted for the 13 board candidates put forward by the company lost $5 billion last year and nearly $22 billion since early 2019.

Shareholders asked when the company could return dividends, which were suspended in early 2020. Calhoun and Chairman Lawrence Kellner said they wanted to invest in the business and reduce debt before returning more money to shareholders.

Boeing shares rose 1.6% and Spirit AeroSystems gained 7.8% Tuesday.