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Airbus Hits New Supply-Chain Hurdle in Race With Boeing

Engine maker Pratt to recall 1,200 engines over 12 months just as Airbus is trying to cement its supremacy in narrow-body jets. 

LONDON—Airbus decrease; red down pointing triangle faces another high hurdle in delivering its bestselling jets as it races to solidify a commanding lead over rival Boeing BA 0.70%increase; green up pointing triangle.

Airbus has been working to rapidly increase output of its bestselling A320 family of aircraft as it seeks to deliver on a backlog that now stretches out into the early 2030s. Many of those planes are powered by a certain type of Pratt & Whitney engine, which the engine maker said earlier this week will need to be recalled and inspected.

Pratt said it would need to inspect 1,200 of its geared-turbofan engines after it discovered a fault in the metal that could lead to cracking. Both Pratt and Airbus have said the issue doesn’t impact the safety of the aircraft.

The recall could further slow Airbus’s plans for higher production rates of the jet. With the affected engines being taken out of service, Pratt will need to hold on to more of its new engines for a spare-engine pool.

Excerpt from WSJ
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FAA Clears Boeing 737 Max 10 Jet for Test Flights

Long-awaited approval puts company on track for first deliveries of bigger MAX model in 2024. A Boeing 737-10 aircraft demonstration during the 54th International Paris Air Show near Paris, France, last June.

U.S. air-safety regulators cleared Boeing BA 0.66%increase; green up pointing triangle to begin key flight tests on its 737 MAX 10 jet, a milestone toward preparing the plane for commercial service.

The airborne checks are a preliminary validation for Boeing by the Federal Aviation Administration and put the company on track for its first deliveries next year.

“Our entire team has remained focused on this goal, working with diligence and resilience in a dynamic environment,” Boeing executives said in a message to employees announcing the development.

The 737-10 is Boeing’s biggest offering in the MAX family of single-aisle airplanes. United Airlines, Ryanair, Air India and SunExpress are among the airlines that have placed orders for the jets.

Boeing in recent years has faced a series of delays and setbacks in getting new planes in service and in restarting deliveries of its 737 MAX airplanes after a pair of fatal crashes grounded those planes in 2019.

Excerpt from WSJ
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U.K. Makes Arrest in Probe Into Jet-Engine Parts Scandal

Fraud watchdog launches criminal investigation into AOG Technics with dawn raid.  Suspected unapproved parts have been found on more than 100 jet engines. 

The U.K. has launched a criminal investigation into alleged fraud at an aircraft-parts supplier suspected of selling thousands of jet-engine components with fake safety certificates that have been found in dozens of jets, including some operated by major U.S. airlines.

The Serious Fraud Office said Wednesday it had raided an address and arrested an individual as part of its probe into AOG Technics. The London-based company’s lone director and shareholder is Jose Zamora Yrala.

AOG Technics didn’t respond to a request for comment, and a lawyer who previously represented Zamora said he no longer acted for him.

Aviation regulators in the U.K., U.S. and European Union earlier this year issued notices warning airlines that it suspected AOG of having provided false documentation for engine components. Those parts, ranging from simple nuts and bolts to more critical turbine blades, went into engines manufactured by General Electric and France’s Safran, which are used to power one of Boeing’s best-selling jets.

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Jet Defects Stoke Debate Over Who Should Inspect Mechanics’ Work

Workers say self-inspections increase risks; jet makers and suppliers say self-checks aren’t the problem

Boeing earlier this year paused deliveries of some 737 jets because of incorrectly installed parts. Should airplane mechanics be responsible for checking their own work?

The question is the subject of a long-simmering feud between workers and executives at major aircraft manufacturers. The debate has intensified as the aerospace industry deals with a series of costly manufacturing defects.

Workers say having a separate inspector sign off is critical for quality control in an industry with no margin for error. Union leaders at Spirit AeroSystems, a problem-plagued supplier to Boeing, say the company has put itself at greater risk of making mistakes by calling for self-inspections on certain tasks.

“We have inspectors for a reason,” said Cornell Beard, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers chapter representing workers at Spirit’s Wichita, Kan., factory. “These are airplanes; if there’s a problem, we don’t get to pull over on a cloud and kick the tires.”

Executives at aircraft makers and suppliers say self-inspections are used on a small percentage of tasks and that technological advances have reduced the need for separate inspectors.

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