Boeing may be facing further issues around the delivery of its 737 aircraft with reworking needed on 50 undelivered aircraft following the discovery of mis-drilled holes by supplier Spirit AeroSystems

The two holes were reported by a Spirit employee and flagged to the US aircraft manufacturer, which told employees it would dedicate several days at its Renton factory to addressing the issue, which could cause delays to some aircraft deliveries. 

The announcement continues a series of bad news around the 737 family of aircraft after the incident on an Alaska Airlines flight involving the blow out of a door plug, also manufactured by Spirit, lead to more than 171 MAX 9 aircraft being grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Stan Deal told employees: “This past Thursday, a supplier notified us of a nonconformance in some 737 fuselages. I want to thank an employee at the supplier who flagged to his manager that two holes may not have been drilled exactly to our requirements.” 

Though Boeing has said there was no immediate impact on flight safety by the discovery, the issue will likely only further scrutiny around the manufacturer’s quality control, which has already been stepped up in response to the Alaska incident and subsequent discoveries of loose bolts on some MAX 9 planes. 

Additionally, Emirates president Sir Tim Clark has become the latest airline chief to criticise the manufacturer, warning it was in the “last chance saloon” during an interview with the Financial Times. 

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By GlobalData

Clark said that he had seen a “progressive decline” in the US company’s standards and that it needed to “put the house in order” by reviewing its manufacturing processes and putting production at the forefront of its work instead of profit. 

His pointed comments came soon after similar criticism from Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci, who said he was “angry” about the incident on the airline’s flight, and United’s Scott Kirby, who warned that his airline may move ahead without its currently ordered MAX 10 aircraft after long delays. 

While Boeing did not comment directly on Clark’s comments, CEO Dave Calhoun recently told investors that the company’s “full focus” was on strengthening quality.