Advertisement

Updated March 13th, 2024 at 07:47 IST

US airlines brace for further Boeing delivery setbacks amid safety concerns

The airline sector had already adjusted its delivery forecasts for the year due to Boeing's challenges, complicating efforts to meet soaring travel demands.

Reported by: Business Desk
Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets
Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets | Image:Alaska Airlines
Advertisement

Boeing delivery delays: United States air carriers issued cautionary statements on Tuesday regarding their expansion plans, citing potential delays in jet deliveries from Boeing. These warnings come amid escalating concerns within the airline industry stemming from Boeing's ongoing safety crisis.

The airline sector had already adjusted its delivery forecasts for the year due to Boeing's challenges, complicating efforts to meet soaring travel demands.

Advertisement

Boeing has been under intense regulatory scrutiny following a distressing mid-air panel incident involving Alaska Airlines on January 5. This incident has prompted investigations into Boeing's safety protocols and manufacturing standards.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby expressed uncertainty, stating, "Boeing deliveries are going to be way behind this year," and highlighting the unpredictability surrounding the certification of the MAX 10 model.

Advertisement

Following these announcements, United's shares dropped by 1.7 per cent, while Southwest Airlines experienced a significant decline of nearly 15 per cent, precipitated by its downward revision of Boeing delivery projections for the year. Boeing shares also closed 4.3 per cent lower, marking a 29 per cent decrease since the year began.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced plans for a public investigative hearing into the Alaska Airlines incident on August 6-7. NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy indicated that the hearing would involve testimonies from Boeing, fuselage manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems, and Alaska Airlines personnel.

Advertisement

Alaska Airlines confirmed reports that the MAX 9 aircraft involved in the incident had been scheduled for maintenance on January 5, following previous flights with pressurization warning lights. The airline clarified that this maintenance was not deferred or overdue.

Amid these challenges, airlines are reassessing their fleet plans. United had previously excluded the MAX 10 from its fleet plan, and Southwest, a major MAX 7 customer, now anticipates a 42 per cent reduction in MAX deliveries from Boeing this year, potentially affecting its 2024 capacity plans.

Advertisement

Southwest CEO Bob Jordan hinted at further revisions to delivery forecasts, emphasising the need to adjust capacity and schedules for the latter half of 2024.

In response to potential MAX 10 delays, United has explored purchasing additional A321neo jets from Airbus. Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci noted uncertainties in the carrier's 2024 capacity plans due to the Boeing crisis.

Advertisement

Boeing has pledged to enhance quality control measures, including weekly compliance checks and additional equipment audits, to address production issues. Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal reiterated the company's commitment to quality assurance in a memo to employees.

Despite these efforts, Boeing reported a slight decrease in airplane deliveries in February compared to the previous year, further underscoring the challenges facing the aviation giant amid its ongoing safety crisis.

Advertisement

(With Reuters inputs.)

Advertisement

Published March 13th, 2024 at 07:47 IST

Your Voice. Now Direct.

Send us your views, we’ll publish them. This section is moderated.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Whatsapp logo