Good news for 4th 737 production line, but lots of unanswered questions remain

Subscription Required

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 2, 2023, © Leeham News: Boeing’s announcement that it will establish a fourth 737 MAX final assembly line (FAL) at its Everett (WA) widebody plant by the second half of 2024 answers some but hardly all questions.

Related article

The fourth Boeing 737 MAX production line in Everett (WA) will build the MAX 10. Credit: Leeham News.

The news is welcome at the plant, which assembled the 747, 767/KC-46A, 777, and 787. The last 747 rolled off the line last month after 54 years in production. The 787 FAL closed in 2020, and consolidated with the line in Charleston (SC). The 767/KC-46A line is ticking over at 3/mo and the 777 line is at a 2/mo rate—both well below their peaks.

Rework on 110 787s is to be completed by the end of 2024. This rework is moving from the 787 bay to the 747 bay and a building south of the massive assembly building. The 737 line will go into the 787 bay.

The new FAL gives some certainty to workers and the neighboring supply chain, and to Everett and Snohomish County in which the city lies. But there are lots of questions that are unanswered.

  • What will the production capacity of the new FAL be? How long will it take to reach the capacity?
  • Where is the tooling coming from?
  • How will the 737 fuselages get from Wichita (KS), where they are made?
  • How long before all three lines in Renton are to full capacity of 63/mo?
  • When does production of the P-8 end? (Put another way, how long is the backlog?)
  • Is there any thought to expanding the MAX production someday into the sawtooth building?

To read the rest of the article Login or Subscribe today.