Boeing’s announcement today that it will boost production of the 777 from the previously announced 7/mo to 8.3/mo (100 a year) is good news for Boeing, its customers, the supply chain and (to be parochial about it) Washington State, where the airplanes are made.
But this isn’t all.
As we have previously written, Boeing is already thinking of boosting 737 production beyond the 38/mo previously announced, to as much as 42: 41 commercial 737s and one 737-based P-8A Poseidon, all assembled in Renton (WA). (The fuselage is built by Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita (KS), which at one time was Boeing’s facility.)
We learned that even 42/mo may not be the end of it. Boeing foresees the 737 production rate to as many as 50/mo.
And this isn’t all. Given the delays, demand and the need for more sales slots for the 787 program, Boeing can take the 787 rate to 17/mo. As BCA CEO Jim Albaugh told us at the Farnborough Air Show, Everett’s Line 1 has the capacity to do seven per month; Charleston’s Line 2 will have the capacity to go to 7/mo; and Everett’s so-called surge line has the capacity for 3/mo. Albaugh cautioned that he needs to be confident Boeing can produce the previously announced 10/mo before taking production higher.
We further speculate that if Boeing does not win the KC-X tanker contract, Boeing could expand the surge line from the forward half of the bay it’s assigned to encompass the entire fore-and-aft bay. The aft bay is assigned to the 767 line on which the tanker is based. With a commercial backlog of only 51 767s, without the tanker this production will end in some four years, which could make way for 787 production beyond the technically feasible 17/mo.
All rate increases, of course, depend on the supply chain.
Despite the problems bedeviling Boeing over the 787 and 747-8, the saying is that it is always darkest before the the dawn (or something like this). Boeing could–and should–be on a roll by 2015. There are some dark days still ahead, but we see dawn coming.
Here is the story on 737 rates we did today for Commercial Aviation Online/FlightGlobal on the 737.
Here is a story we did today on the Boeing 787-10 being back on the table as an answer to the Airbus A330-330. This was also for CAO/FlightGlobal.
Here is a piece we did for AirInsight on the impact of the A320neo decision on Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier.