Major fuselage maker lays off thousands, as hundreds of aircraft await delivery
One month after Boeing announced it would suspend production of its embattled 373-Max airliner, the decision is already starting to have repercussions along the metals supply chain. The biggest so far has been Spirit AeroSystems - a major supplier of fuselages and wings to Boeing - decision to idle one facility, cut back output at others and lay off almost 3,000 workers.
Suppliers were making and shipping components and assemblies that were equivalent to as many as 52 finished 737-Maxs per month. That was over 20% more than Boeing master schedule of 42 aircraft per month Max production that Boeing has suspended represents 13-17% of total global output.
The fuselage and wings of the 737 are metal, primarily aluminum with 40-45% of the metal used in commercial aircraft. The rest is steel, typically high-alloy steel makes up 22-24%, (titanium and other alloy-based steel provides 13-14%, while super alloys, typically nickel or cobalt-based, constitute 10-11%)
The supply chain hit tipping point. The consensus among analysts is that Boeing only has a few more months to get things sorted. There has been no bullwhip effect up the supply chain yet, but it’s inevitable.