Thursday, May 11, 2017

Boeing Should Soon Resume 737 Max Jetliner Test Flights, Start Deliveries: A limited number of the Leap-1B engines are affected by a manufacturing quality problem

The Wall Street Journal

By Robert Wall
Updated May 11, 2017 8:34 a.m. ET

Boeing Co. should be able to resume test flying its new 737 Max jetliner soon and deliver the first of the planes this month after a flaw in some of its engines forced the plane maker to halt flights, a key engine supplier said Thursday,

A limited number of the Leap-1B engines powering the Boeing plane are affected by a manufacturing quality problem, said Olivier Andriès, head of Safran Aircraft Engines. The French company makes the engines in the CFM International joint venture with General Electric Co.

Boeing Wednesday said it temporarily idled its fleet of 737 Max planes days before it planned to dispatch the first of the single-aisle jets to Malaysia for use by a unit of Indonesia’s Lion Air, the launch operator. It said the first plane is still due to be handed over this month, the Chicago-based plane maker said.

“This is not a design problem,” Mr. Andriès said in an interview. The Leap engines the joint venture makes for planes made by Airbus SE and China’s plane maker Comac aren’t affected, he said.

Mr. Andriès said one supplier he wouldn’t identify had delivered suspect parts in the turbine, the key part of an aircraft engine. Those engines will be partly disassembled with parts shipped back to France for inspection. Getting all engines checked and fixed should be completed in “a few weeks,” he said.

Safran has asked other parts suppliers to ramp up production of the component to avoid a delivery shortfall this year. CFM plans to deliver 450 to 500 engines Leap engines this year. Mr. Andriès said the company was currently focused on fixing the issue and hasn’t determined its financial impact.

The last minute engine issue is a black eye for Boeing on a development program that appeared to be progressing smoothly and was running ahead of schedule, a rarity for recent aircraft development projects at the U.S. plane maker, the world’s No. 1, its European rival and others.

Airbus and Boeing have recently bet on a series of upgraded planes sporting new engines, rather than all-new designs, to minimize risk. But those more modest developments have also suffered setbacks. Airbus has struggled getting A320neo single-aisle planes, its rival to Boeing’s 737 Max, out the door amid issues with an engine supplier by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp. An Airbus widebody upgrade also is running behind schedule because of issues with engine made by Britain’s Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC.

Original article can be found here:

Boeing Halts Flights of New 737 Max Jet:  Aerospace company cites engine problems for the temporary suspension, but still plans to deliver the first plane to a customer this month

Boeing Co. said Wednesday that it had suspended flight tests of its new 737 Max jetliner because of problems with its engine, though still planned to deliver the first plane to its customer this month.

The company announced a “temporary suspension” of flights, just days before the first of the single-aisle jets was due to be flown to Malaysia. The jets are due to be operated thereby a unit of Indonesia’s Lion Air, the launch operator.

Boeing has secured 3,700 orders for the 737 Max, powered by Leap engines made by the CFM  joint venture between General Electric Co. and Safran SA.

“We will work closely with CFM to understand the precise scope and root cause of the quality issue,” Boeing said in a statement.

Teething problems are common with complex new aircraft programs. Airbus SE has also encountered problems with initial engines powering its new A320neo jet made by the Pratt & Whitney unit of United Technologies Corp. , forcing the plane maker to reduce output of the jet.

Airbus has deferred some production to next year to ensure sufficient Pratt & Whitney engines are available. Air Lease Corp. , the aircraft lessor, last week said Airbus was also delaying some deliveries of A320neo jets powered by a version of the CFM Leap.

Cai von Rumohr at Cowen & Co. said in a client note that he saw the problem with Boeing’s engine as “an easily fixable sub-tier supplier component issue” rather than a design problem.

Boeing shares fell around 3.5% before recovering somewhat to close down 1.3%. GE shares also lost ground, settling 0.8% lower.

GE and its partner invested heavily ahead of a huge planned ramp in production of the Leap engine powering the 737 Max, wary of the problems suffered by Pratt & Whitney.

Boeing plans to deliver around 75 new 737 Max jets this year to customers, including Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc. The first plane was due to start flying on May 19 for Malindo Air. Boeing didn’t give a new delivery date.

Norwegian Air Shuttle AS A, which is also expecting to receive jets this month, said it had been informed by Boeing of the issue and given new delivery dates with only a few days delay that wouldn’t affect the launch of some new flights.

Original article can be found here:

1 comment:

  1. It would be interesting to know what the component was and what the issue impacting the component was.