Boeing Co. chief executive revealed that the manufacture of commercial and defense aircraft will continue to struggle with supply-chain irregularities for another year or more, or through most of 2023. His comments to an economic forum in Doha, Qatar, reframed investors’ concerns about design problems and production delays for Boeing’s major commercial jet series – the 737, 777, and 787 – as logistical issues.
"The shift from demand to, now, supply issues... is remarkable, the speed with which it happened... and will probably stay that way in my view almost to the end of next year," Calhoun said, according to reports from the Bloomberg Qatar Economic Forum.
Calhoun added the "the biggest restraint of all for that mid-tier set of suppliers and sub-tier set of suppliers is labor availability."
The Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body jet program returned to production in 2021 after a 19-month grounding and investigation, and it has resumed some success in landing new orders from airlines planning fleet replacements. However, shortages of some parts and sub-systems have been reported for that program, for which Boeing as a large order backlog.
The 777 program has not been idled by any controversies, but the introduction of the new 777X has been delayed several times and now is expected in 2025.
Deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner are paused now as Boeing awaits an airworthiness recertification from the Federal Aviation Administration. Deliveries were halted about one year ago in response to a variety of maintenance issues that had emerged over the preceding months. In September 2020, Boeing confirmed some faulty structural conditions on certain 787s, as well as defective fuselage skins – a problem first uncovered in 2019.
In February of this year, FAA stated it will reserve the right determine the aircraft’s certification until it has confidence that "Boeing's quality control and manufacturing processes consistently produce 787s that meet FAA design standards."