Boeing Co. will increase the production rate for its Next-Generation 737, the short- to medium-range jet liners it has been producing since 1996. It is the successor to a commercial jet that was introduced in 1966, and of which more than 6,000 have been delivered.
The aircraft builder explained that it will raise its output from 31.5 to 34 jets per month in response to “continued strong demand.” The 737s are manufactured at Boeing’s Renton, Wash., manufacturing complex.
There are more than 2,000 unfilled orders for the Next-Generation 737 from more than 80 customers, Boeing said.
The new output rate will be achieved in early 2012, according to the company. Suppliers have been notified of the increase, and according to Boeing are prepared for the changes.
"The global economy continues to recover this year and we believe that airlines will return to profitability in 2011," explained Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes v.p.-marketing. "We believe that there will be an increased demand for airplanes – especially in the market served by the Next-Generation 737 – in 2012 and beyond."
Boeing added that it is studying further increases in output for the 737, with an eye on continued strong customer demand.
"With over 5,200 sold to date, the Next-Generation 737 is the workhorse in our customers' fleets around the world," stated Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh. "Even through the global economic downturn, our diverse 737 backlog has remained very strong. Increasing the 737 production rate is the right thing to do to meet the growth and fleet replacement needs of our customers."
The 737 production rate increase is unrelated the ongoing strike by United Aerospace Workers mechanics at Boeing’s Long Beach, CA, assembly plant, now in its second week. The strike led Boeing to suspend production of C-17 military cargo jets. The workers rejected a proposed 46-month contract three weeks ago, reportedly there are no further negotiations scheduled between the company and the union.