Boeing Eyes Buying Troubled 737 Max Parts Maker

Boeing Eyes Buying Troubled 737 Max Parts Maker

Aerospace giant Boeing is negotiating a deal to purchase Spirit AeroSystems, a major supplier that builds fuselages and other components for Boeing’s beleaguered 737 Max airliners.

Key Supplier Has Own Quality Issues

Kansas-based Spirit was actually part of Boeing until a 2005 spin-off. It now makes critical parts like the Max fuselages that get shipped to Boeing’s factory for final assembly. But Spirit has faced its own quality control issues recently, disrupting Max production.

Boeing likely aims to better control supply chain problems by bringing Spirit back into the fold. It already agreed to pay Spirit up to $60 million in 2023 alone to improve reliability and output. Reacquiring the company could reduce costs longer-term and accelerate fixing issues with the Max and other models.

Spirit Involved in Recent Max Incidents

Spirit’s production problems have contributed to some of Boeing’s recent Max troubles. The manufacturer is under fire after a Max flown by Alaska Airlines had an engine cowling blow out in January due to missing bolts.

While Boeing was responsible for the missing bolts, investigators found the fuselage section had arrived from Spirit with defective rivets that were subsequently removed, playing a role in the incident.

Other Spirit Defects Disrupted Max Output

Beyond the Alaska Air scare, Spirit has delivered fuselages requiring rework, used non-standard processes, and drilled inaccurate holes that delayed Max deliveries over the past year. Boeing likely wants to rein in these defects by acquiring Spirit in a $3 billion-plus deal.

After losing $31 billion over five years amid crashes and scandals, Boeing is striving to restore the Max’s reputation and its own finances. Bringing the parts maker Spirit back into the fold directly could help Boeing achieve greater quality control over the embattled jet program.

Aklimson Phangcho

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