Boeing raising production rate for 737

Staff writerOctober 31, 2013 

American Airlines 737-800 Takeoff


Boeing's Renton 737 production line will see yet another rate increase to cope with rising demand for the company's best-selling single-aisle jet.

The company announced Thursday that it expects to be building 47 of the popular twin-engine jets a month by 2017. That's nine more monthly than the company produces now and five more monthly than it had previously announced as a production target for next year.

The production ramp up will potentially allow Boeing to offer airlines quicker fulfillment of their orders.  A higher production rate on the cash-cow 737 will also give Boeing the opportunity to enhance its profits.

The 737 production rate increase is the second airliner production speed-up the company has announced in the last week.  Last week, Boeing announced it will raise production rates for its 787 Dreamliner to 12 per month by 2016 and to 14 monthly by 2020.

Both the 737 and the 787 have large order backlogs. The 737, for instance, has orders for some 3,500 planes.

The ability to build more planes monthly could give Boeing an advantage over its rival, Airbus, if it can offer planes more quickly to airlines ordering them. Airbus is producing its 737 competitor, the A320, at 42 planes monthly.

Boeing didn't elaborate on how it will raise the production rates.  The company's two existing assembly lines at Renton now have had a maximum capacity of 21 planes each per month.

Boeing could begin producing airliners on a third Renton assembly line that it now uses exclusively for building submarine hunting and surveillance planes for the U.S. and foreign navies. Those planes are based on the 737 airframe.

In the last two decades, Boeing 737 production has fallen to as low as 15 planes monthly because of slack demand.



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