Why this AvGeek photo is breaking the internet - and no, they aren’t hot dogs
Take a close look at the photo below. What do you see: a popular food item cooking on a grill on a warm day -- or airplane fuselages?
If you're hungry, you might have needed to look twice. Social media this week made light of what looks like grilling frankfurters in a story about the now-grounded Boeing 737 MAX jet. The fuselages, without paint or anything resembling a plane, are currently sitting in storage at a facility in Kansas. Business Insider reported that over 100 are sitting in storage as the MAX waits for clearance to return to service. The photos were taken by Reuters.
The fuselages were built by Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita. The $8 billion company relies on Boeing for 80 percent of its revenue, according to the New York Times. According to Business Insider, Spirit AeroSystems employs about 13,000 people in Wichita; it's the city's biggest employer. It can produce about 50 MAX fuselages a month, according to reports.
The fuselages are then moved by train to the plant in Renton, Washington, where Boeing assembles 737s. There, they are mated to wings and other components built elsewhere.
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Southwest Airlines announced this week that it delayed its expected return of the Boeing 737 MAX, now saying it will now take the jet off its schedules until April 13. The airline previously had the MAX returning on March 6, as The Points Guy's Edward Russell reported.
Southwest’s move comes just a day after Boeing confirmed it would temporarily halt production of the MAX as it waits for regulators to recertify the aircraft, an effort that’s taken longer than Boeing expected.
The plane, Boeing’s best-selling commercial jet, has been grounded since March following two accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia in five months that left 346 people dead. The manufacturer will stop producing new MAX aircraft beginning in January.
Even after slowing down production as the grounding stretched on, Boeing continued to churn out around 40 new aircraft per month, leading to strange scenes of aircraft parked wherever the company could find room — including in employee parking lots.