Boeing faces 737 production gap: analysis

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Sept. 2, 2015, (c) Leeham Co. Boeing faces a production gap for the 737, based on an analysis of the delivery streams of the 737NG and the 737 MAX.

There's a production gap for the Boeing 737 more than 100 airplanes, according to a Leeham Co. analysis. Boeing photo.

While focus of Boeing production gaps has been on the 777 Classic and, to a lesser extent, the 747-8, few have analyzed the production gap for the 737 line. Boeing announced rate increased from 42/mo to 47/mo in 2017, the year the MAX enters service, and again to 52/mo the following year. The company is studying taking rates even higher, to 60/mo, by 2020. Boeing cites a large backlog and continued demand for the 737 for boosting production rates.

But Market Intelligence indicates emerging concerns about the gap.


  • We see a gap of perhaps 100-200 737s in 2017 and 2018, even as the 737 MAX is "feathered" into production of the 737NG.
  • Beyond 2018, the apparent gap depends largely on the delivery stream of Unidentified MAX customers accounting for nearly 600 orders identified by the Ascend data base. Boeing lists just over 1,000 Unidentified 737 orders through July (August figures aren't out yet), sharply higher than the Ascend data base.
  • The current low fuel price environment is a concern.

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