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Boeing’s aircraft deliveries slipped in October on 737 fuselage flaw

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A Boeing 737 MAX 8 sits outside the hangar during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington.

Matt Mcknight | Reuters

Boeing‘s aircraft deliveries in October fell from a month earlier after a fuselage flaw in its bestselling 737 Maxes delayed handovers of new planes.

Boeing delivered a total of 35 planes in October, down from 51 in September. Of those, 22 were 737 Maxes.

The Virginia-based manufacturer’s commercial aircraft unit had told investors that the flaw would impact its delivery numbers for the month.

“We’ll recover on that quickly,” Stan Deal, chief executive of Boeing’s commercial airplane unit, said during an investor event last week. “We can surge and we will recover for our deliveries at the end of the year, but that adverse quality which we have to manage out of the system was an impact.”

Boeing is making about 31 of the 737s a month. Last week, it told investors that it expects to deliver between 400 and 450 of its 737s next year, up from about 375 planes this year.

The company logged orders for 122 of its 737 Max planes in October from carriers including Alaska Airlines and British Airways’ parent International Consolidated Airlines Group.

Supply chain problems and labor shortages have prevented the manufacturer from ramping production up further, an issue that has hit rival Airbus, too, just as travelers are returning in droves. JetBlue and United are among the airlines that have complained about aircraft delivery delays.

Boeing last week laid out a recovery plan for investors and analysts that forecast a return to annual sales of around $100 billion by the middle of this decade. CEO Dave Calhoun said the company could introduce a new airplane, but not until the middle of the next decade since advances in engine technology don’t yet warrant enough of a fuel cut to draw buyers.

The company has struggled since two deadly crashes of the 737 in 2018 and 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic, manufacturing flaws that paused handovers of its 787 Dreamliners, and problems in its defense unit, including delays and cost overruns of the two 747s that are slated to eventually serve as Air Force One.


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