By Pilar Wolfsteller, Lynwood, Washington
The ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 Max has the potential to decimate the supply chain, and the aircraft’s return to revenue service may take significantly longer than anticipated due to maintenance and airline crew training requirements, creating a delicate balancing act for the manufacturer as the crisis enters its 12th month.
The 737 Max was grounded in March 2019 following two accidents which killed 346 people. Now, with about 800 aircraft awaiting their return to service or delivery to airlines, the Chicago-based planemaker has stopped production, throwing many of its suppliers into a jam. Boeing has to decide how to restart that assembly process while keeping the interests of both suppliers and customers in mind.
“It’s a balancing act. Boeing needs to preserve the viability of the supply chain,” Kevin Michaels, managing director of AeroDynamic Advisory tells participants at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Association in Lynnwood, Washington on 4 February. On the other hand, “it wouldn’t make sense to start producing lots of Maxes if the customers are not in a position to deploy them.”