737 MAX 9: Boeing & Spirit AeroSystems Back in the Limelight

737 MAX 9: Boeing & Spirit AeroSystems Back in the Limelight

Last weekend’s chain of events involving the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 and the subsequent grounding of the type brings Boeing & Spirit AeroSystems back into the limelight.

The incident involving Alaska Airlines flight AS1282 resulted in the temporary grounding of 171 units of the aircraft type for inspections before they can return to service.

However, more information has come to light regarding the particular door part, as we will explore in this article.

Spirit AeroSystems Manufactured The Aircraft Part for Boeing…

737 MAX 9: Boeing & Spirit AeroSystems Back in the Limelight
Photo Credit: Boeing.

As per an article released by Reuters yesterday, it has emerged that Spirit AeroSystems manufactured and installed a portion of the door part of the fuselage to the Boeing 737 MAX 9 which blew.

It is understood that the part is sent to the American planemaker semi-installed, and then Boeing configures the part and gets it ready for commercial operation, and goes as far as testing it to 150% pressurisation.

The investigation, which will be carried out by the NTSB, will no doubt see where the part became faulty in the production process, but this incident is still not good news for Boeing at this stage.

Within this, there is significance to Spirit AeroSystems’ involvement in these chain of events as well, as we will explore now.

Both Sides Signed A Deal on Quality & Deliveries Back in October…

737 MAX 9: Boeing & Spirit AeroSystems Back in the Limelight
Photo Credit: Boeing.

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Back in October 2023, Boeing & Spirit AeroSystems signed a deal to improve quality and deliveries of aircraft parts being used.

Such an agreement comes off the back of quality concerns by the supplier, which have been affecting the 737 MAX aircraft.

“Boeing and Spirit will continue to work shoulder to shoulder to mitigate today’s operational challenges,” said Spirit AeroSystems at the time.

The company’s President & CEO Patrick M. Shanahan added to this saying:

“Our collective teams will focus on further generating supply chain performance and resiliency.”

“This united effort to synchronize our production systems will enable greater market responsiveness and delivery assurance.”

As first reported by The Air Current, Boeing & Spirit AeroSystems have been experiencing some challenges, particularly on the aft bulkhead section of the 737 MAX.

It is understood that the issue at the time was down to hundreds of mis drilled fasteners installed with a laser.

Boeing said the following on this at the time to Jon Ostrower:

“We continue to take the time necessary to ensure each airplane meets our standards and regulatory requirements prior to ticketing and delivery”.

What Next?

Photo Credit: Boeing.

What remains clear is that the deal between Boeing & Spirit AeroSystems about enhancing quality and deliveries is at risk of coming to a head once again.

Until the NTSB conduct their investigation and release their preliminary and full reports, we won’t know the internal chain of events that have taken place.

Following a relatively successful year for the American planemaker last year, this is at risk of spiraling out of control again.

That being said, so long as the groundings of the aircraft type are temporary, and the relevant fixes can be made, then it will be down to Boeing to get themselves back on their feet again and continue that momentum they have had in 2023.

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