Boeing is looking to supplier Spirit AeroSystems to step up production to help replace the 737 fuselages damaged in last Thursday’s train wreck in Montana, Pat Shanahan, Boeing’s senior vice president in charge of all commercial-airplane programs, said Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of commonality between (airline) customers, but not to the degree you can just substitute one fuselage for another,” Shanahan said in an interview. “Our intent is to make it up, but it’s not something you can just pull ahead in a matter of weeks or days.
“We’re working right now with Spirit to understand what surge capacity they have,” Shanahan added. “It’s not like they have a lot of extra capacity.”
He said Boeing will also talk to its airline customers to see what accommodations might be acceptable.
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Boeing has not said how many of the six newly manufactured 737 jet fuselages can be salvaged.
Nineteen train cars derailed near Alberton in western Montana, spilling three fuselages down a steep embankment toward the Clark Fork River and three more near the tracks.
Two of the three fuselages on the embankment went into the water. One of the fuselages near the tracks was broken in two.
Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost said the last of the three fuselages was hoisted up Tuesday.
Frost says the fuselages and their flat cars each weigh a combined 70 tons.
The fuselages and other airplane parts were being taken from Spirit’s manufacturing plant in Wichita, Kan., to Boeing’s final-assembly plant in Renton.
In Renton, Boeing assembles and rolls out two new 737 jets each workday, or 42 per month.
Railroad officials are investigating the cause of the derailment.
Dominic Gates: (206) 464-2963 or firstname.lastname@example.org