The two companies will work closely to improve the production process and avoid breakdowns such as those that delayed the Boeing assembly rate 737MAX.
Boeing and its main aerostructures supplier, Spirit Aerosystemsannounced on Wednesday a memorandum of understanding aimed at expanding and improving the quality and predictability of parts production for jet aircraft like the 737. As part of this agreement, the two companies will expand their collaboration to make the process ofassembly of airplane parts. “Boeing and Spirit will continue to work side by side to mitigate today’s operational challenges”said Patrick M. Shanahan, president and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems. “Our collective teams will focus on continually driving supply chain performance and resilience. This joint effort to synchronize our production systems will allow greater market responsiveness and a greater guarantee of delivery. »
Spirit has been implicated in several problems in Boeing’s commercial aircraft parts production line. Recently, for example, the rear pressure bulkhead of some 737 MAX 8 models had improperly drilled mounting holes. In April, aircraft in production and storage had to undergo inspections on two connections which connect the rear of the fuselage to the vertical tail. They would not be attached correctly.
Additionally, Spirit AeroSystems unveiled a deal with Boeing under which the troubled supplier will receive immediate financing from the planemaker and revised prices for production of the 737 and 787, sending its shares up 23%. Under the announced deal, Spirit will get a higher price for near-term deliveries of the front fuselage and other components it makes for the 787 Dreamliner. As a result, Spirit is expected to record $455 million in additional sales between 2023 and 2025. Boeing has agreed to extend repayment of $180 million in financing from 2025 to 2027. The planemaker will also provide an additional $100 million in the next 10 days for the tooling necessary for future increases in production rate of the 787 and 737.
The difficulties have affected the production rate of the 737 MAX, which is lower than expectations. Before the grounding of the 737 MAX in 2019, the group produced an average of 52,737 aircraft per month and was aiming for a target of 57. Following manufacturing problems, it delivered only 15 single-aisle 737 MAX 8/9 this last month of September (286 737 MAX since the beginning of 2023), but is once again aiming for the objective of at least 57 devices per month by July 2025. For its part, Airbus confirmed in July its production target for the single-aisle family A320neothe European aircraft manufacturer’s best-selling, 75 devices per month in 2026.