Boeing to add 4th 737 FAL at underutilized Everett plant

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By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 30, 2023, © Leeham News: Boeing will establish a fourth final assembly line (FAL) for the 737 in the vast Everett (WA) assembly plant in 2024. The company announced the move internally today.

Boeing Everett plant, where all widebody aircraft are assembled. Boeing will add a narrowbody 737 line. Credit: Everett Herald

The move was one of many rumored for months. Consolidating the 787 FALs in Charleston (SC), a move announced in the early days of the COVID pandemic, and shutting down 747 production, announced two years ago, the future of the big, empty spaces at Everett was a question. When Boeing was studying whether to launch a New Midmarket Airplane (NMA), Everett was on the list for an FAL (as were other places). But when CEO David Calhoun killed this program, more questions arose.

Rework on the 787 temporarily filled the 787 bay and now, part of the 747 space. But this was hardly enough.

LNA has obtained production rate studies Boeing shared with suppliers for the future. Conceivably, the aggressive numbers could be accommodated at the 737 plants in Renton (WA), but there is more to consider than raw production numbers.

  • Boeing has a lot of skilled workers in Everett who are losing their assignments when the 787 rework is completed (target: year-end 2024) and with the cessation of 747 production. These skilled workers need replacement work.
  • Boeing needs to keep up with the Joneses (aka Airbus). Boeing is studying very high 737 production rates.
  • There is no new airplane program for Everett and a lot of empty space.
  • Everett’s overhead absorption rate is now covered by just the 767 and 777 at very low rates and rework.

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