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Boeing drops GKN for part of 737MAX plan, delivery on track for 2017

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young

(Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N) said it has dropped GKN PLC (GKN.L) as a supplier for one component on its 737 MAX jetliner, while it reaffirmed its expectation for delivery of the jet to customers beginning in 2017.

The company had made changes to the design of the inner walls of the thrust reverser on its new 737 and is in negotiations with a new supplier, Boeing spokesman Doug Alder, in a statement on Tuesday, said.

The Chicago-based aircraft maker reaffirmed its earlier expectation of rolling out the first 737 before the end of this year, flying it in early 2016 and delivering it to customers on time beginning in the third quarter of 2017.

GKN declined to comment on Boeing's move. The British engineer remains on the 737MAX program as a supplier of several other components including winglets, engine lipskins and window frames.

Boeing said that the change in design approach incorporated technology and findings from its other aircraft models.

"We made this decision to ensure we have a product that is not only maintainable and reliable but is producible at the high production rates of the 737 program," Boeing's spokesman said in a statement.

(Reporting by Parikshit Mishra in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Sarah Young in London; Editing by Leslie Adler and William Hardy)