Oct. 23, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing has been confident it has bottomed out the production rate of the 777 line, successfully bridging between the Classic and the X models.
CEO Dennis Muilenburg nevertheless typically couches this confidence with “with still have some work to do.”
But during LNC’s trip last week to New York, sources said this bridge may be moving to the right.
Seventy-two percent of the 777X orders are with the Big 3 Middle Eastern Airlines. As far back as January 2017, LNC began reporting quiet deferral of 787s and 777s. See the stories here, here, here and here.
We’d reported that Lufthansa was considering deferrals as well. Bloomberg also reported this Monday.
The upshot: Market sources in New York indicate that the production bridge is shifting to 2022-2023 from 2020-2021.
Boeing is once again pushing sales of the 777-300ER to fill this bridge and maintain the production at 5/mo. Furthermore, other market information indicates Boeing may be considering new-build 777-300ER freighters as a way to also build this bridge.
(Although not discusses, the 777-300ERF would help fill the upper-end cargo aircraft gap for the day when the 747-8F is discontinued. The backlog for this airplane struggles into the early 2020s, even at the reduced rate of 6/yr.)
With Etihad, a 777X customer, trying to avoid financial calamity, its orders for the 777X—already deferred at least once—may be deferred again. (The airline is likely to cancel all its Airbus A350 orders, it’s been reported.)
Boeing may well be facing a problem with the 777 bridge—and the 777X program—that the market hasn’t tumbled to yet.