Sell ramp-up problems hits Boeing 777 deliveries to Qatar Airways

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Qatar Airways has confirmed that deliveries of 777s are being delayed by a month.

Airbus and Boeing are trying to deal with the impact of galley supplier Sell's production problems, which have already caused some 777 deliveries to suffer one month delays.

According to industry sources, German company Sell - a major buyer-furnished-equipment (BFE) supplier to the world's airlines - has been unable to expand its production fast enough to cope with the ramp-up across airliner assembly lines. "They've been swamped and it's a mess," says one customer source.

Both Emirates and Qatar Airways confirm that deliveries of 777s are being delayed by a month as Boeing awaits the arrival of galleys.

Qatar Airways has six 777s due for delivery this year and says that it has been told by Boeing that the next three will be one month late. The airline adds that it is too early to know if the later 777s will also be delayed.

Boeing confirms that it is "experiencing delays in deliveries from a galley supplier" and says it is "working with the supplier and airline customers to resolve the issues".

Airbus has apparently been less seriously affected so far, saying that there has been "no quantified impact" on deliveries of the A330/A340. However, it is "proactively addressing the issue with the galley supply chain by having installed a skilled multifunctional team on site".

Airbus points out that because galleys fall into the BFE category on the airframer's current programmes, it "has limited contractual leverage to help our customers, but we are proactively doing everything we can".

Sell admits that it has "things to improve with our performance and we are working closely with Airbus, Boeing and our customers". It adds: "We are committing all our resources to get this right as soon as possible."

The delays are problematic for both the airframers and the airlines - the former, because if high-value widebody deliveries slip into 2009 it would threaten revenues for this year and the latter because there is little short-term alternative capacity currently available.

It is understood that Sell could be contractually liable for any losses resulting from the delay.