Boeing's target to deliver between 400 and 450 of its 737 narrow body aircraft this year "remains achievable" despite a production issue on the Max model that paused handovers to airlines, according to Moody's Investors Service.
The US plane maker will achieve its goal of delivering 410 of its 737s in 2023 because the number of 737 Max aircraft to be delivered this year that require investigation are "relatively modest", the credit rating agency said in a report on Monday.
Moody's estimates that the number of 737 jets in inventory, subject to inspection and remediation before delivery this year, numbers less than 100.
"The development is negative for the 737 programme and Boeing, mainly from a headline perspective. Boeing has withstood greater challenges than this latest hiccup for the 737 narrow body aircraft programme," Moody's said.
The report comes after Boeing said last week it is temporarily halting deliveries of some of its 737 Maxs as it deals with a production issue on the rear end of some aircraft that stemmed from one of its suppliers.
Spirit Aerosystems, the sole supplier of the fuselage for Boeing's 737 narrow body passenger aircraft, notified the company that two fittings in the fuselage that interact with the vertical stabiliser (the tail fin) were installed with a non-standard manufacturing process on the 737-7, 737-8, 737-8-200 and P-8 model aircraft.
"This is not an immediate safety of flight issue and the in-service fleet can continue operating safely," Boeing said in a statement last week.
"However, the issue will likely affect a significant number of undelivered 737 Max aeroplanes, both in production and in storage."
Flydubai, an all-Boeing operator of the 737s, said it is aware of the issue and is in touch with the manufacturer to "assess any implications this may have on future aircraft deliveries".
The Dubai-based airline is scheduled to take delivery of 17 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in total this year, six of which have already been received.
Boeing said it has notified the Federal Aviation Administration of the components problem and is working to conduct inspections and replace the nonconforming fittings where necessary.
"We expect lower near-term 737 Max deliveries while this required work is completed," the plane maker said.
"We regret the impact that this issue will have on affected customers and are in contact with them concerning their delivery schedule."