Boeing celebrates going to “Rate 35″ on 737

Boeing celebrated the transition to producing 35 737s per month, from 31.5, at a huge employee pep rally today (Jan. 10) at its Renton (WA) plant, where the assembly is done.

With the country-rock band Chance McKinney & Crosswire blasting away, the event was festooned with blue-and-white balloons, cupcakes with blue or white frosting, green T-shirts embossed with “Boeing 737 MAX” and a sometimes cheesy, scripted cheer-leading effect from employees, the event marked not only a milestone for the 737 but for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. No aircraft has been produced in such numbers by Boeing.

And more is to come. The production rate is to increase in 2013 to 38 per months and to 42 the following year.

Beverly Wyse, VP and GM of the 737 Program, told the 10,000 Renton employees that the rate could climb to 60 per month someday.

All this means more jobs for Renton and Puget Sound (the greater Seattle area). Renton will be adding 600-700 more jobs in the each of the next two years for the NG production rate increases, Wyse says. It is too early to know how many more jobs will come with a third line for MAX, which doesn’t have a first-flight time until 2016 and an entry-into-service in 4Q13.

Meanwhile, Boeing is processing through weekly orientation days 100-200 every Friday for Puget Sound employment, says Tommy Wilson, Business Relationship guru for IAM 751 at Renton.

We did two stories on the celebration for Flightglobal. Under our agreement with Flight, we have to wait 24 hours after Flight’s publication before we can post those here.

Separately, Aspire Aviation published this long piece, looking at the 787 program and ramp up.