Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems earlier this week expanded the scope of their ongoing inspections of the aft pressure bulkhead structure on the 737 Max 8, according to two people familiar with the issue, adding to the production disruption facing the U.S. plane maker as it works to stabilize its most critical supplier.
Boeing and Spirit have previously focused their search and replacement efforts on hundreds of misdrilled fasteners installed with an automated laser-guided fastening machine at Spirit’s Wichita, Kansas operations. Six weeks after the issue was first reported by TAC, Boeing and its largest supplier have now begun examining hand-drilled fasteners on the critical structure, as well.
The newly expanded X-ray inspections and rework risk further slowing both the recovery progress and the pace of overall production as Boeing seeks to accelerate output.
The company earlier this week notified the Federal Aviation Administration of its initial findings, along with customers already facing delivery delays of 737 Max 8s, one of the people said.
A Boeing spokeswoman told The Air Current, “We continue to take the time necessary to ensure each airplane meets our standards and regulatory requirements prior to ticketing and delivery.” An FAA spokesman confirmed that the agency is “aware of the issue and are working it through our regular oversight process. There is no immediate safety concern.”
“We continue working closely with our customer to address required rework related to the aft pressure bulkhead,” said a spokesman for Spirit AeroSystems.
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