Update, July 30: Airbus announced today it will increase the production rate on its A320 family to 40 per month.
Boeing is considering going to a production rate of 40 737s per month, with a decision to come in September.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh gave us this number during our interview with him at the Farnborough Air Show.
The company is working with its supply chain to determine if and when this can be achieved.
Albaugh told us that there are two major suppliers, which he declined to name, that would have to expand their plants to accommodate an increase to 40/mo. We understand Spirit Aerosystems, where 737 fuselages are made, is one of the two.
Boeing previously announced rate increases from 31.5 a month to 34, and a month later, increased this to 35, effective next year.
Albaugh said that currently there is an 18 month lead time to increase the 737 rate but he wants Boeing and the suppliers to cut this rate because Airbus can increase rates on a shorter timeline–as little as six months.
Boeing believes the demand is there for the rate increase, but Albaugh also said at Farnborough during the press briefing that failure to do so will likely drive orders to Bombardier’s CSeries.
During the 2Q10 earnings call today, Jim McNerney, corporate CEO, said the “key questions is…[if] we have properly facilitized the suppliers…and we’re methodically working through…bottlenecks and challenges.”
Some suppliers new to expand, others need additional training and still others would need a new business deal, McNerney said.