Production rates below Boeing’s claim, low supplier confidence

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By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 15, 2024, © Leeham News:   The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may have told Boeing it won’t allow product rate increases on the 737 MAX lines, or the addition of the North Line at Everett (WA) until it’s satisfied production quality is under control.

But as LNA first wrote upon this news, Boeing’s production is well below the currently approved 38 per month. We pointed out that Boeing was consistently struggling last year to roll 31 MAXes out of the factory—and often, the number was substantially below 31.

Sometimes the number of newly produced 737s was less than 20 a month, reports one consultant who tracks the production.

Technically, the FAA can’t stop Boeing from producing more 737s than the 38 per month cap. It doesn’t have this authority, reports Aviation Week. But the FAA is the responsible party for issuing individual aircraft airworthy certificates as the 737s are ready for delivery to airlines and lessors. And, according to AvWeek, the FAA won’t issue more than 38 certificates a month.

The FAA suspended Boeing’s so-called ticketing authority for the MAX before the airplane was recertified following the 21 month grounding beginning in March 2019. This suspension was extended to the 787 when production and quality control problems were discovered at the Charleston (SC) assembly plant.

Several aerospace analysts following Boeing pointed out that Boeing hasn’t produced 38 MAXes a month and, like LNA reported, it’s struggled to meet even the previously advertised rate of 31/mo.

Figure 1. Cirium plotted the actual new production deliveries vs the advertised production rates for Airbus and Boeing single-aisle aircraft.

The consultancy Cirium charted the actual deliveries by Boeing (and by Airbus) for their respective single-aisle aircraft.

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