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Boeing Eyeing Higher Production Rate for 737 MAX

May 24, 2021
The jet-builder has targeted a new monthly output for its top-selling aircraft, but an even higher rate is hoped for by late 2022, a published report says.

Boeing Co. reportedly aims to increase the production rate for its narrow-body 737 MAX series to as many as 42 jets/month by late 2022, from its announced target of 31 jets/month set to begin in Q1 next year. Boeing has not commented on the Reuters report, which cited “industry sources.”

The increase would depend on various factors, the report allowed, including demand for new aircraft and suppliers’ readiness to support the increase.

The current monthly production rate for the 737 MAX is said to be less than 10, due to a surplus of aircraft finished but undelivered during the 19-month grounding of the series that followed a fatal crash in March 2019. It was the second crash of a 737 MAX in a six-month period, and it led to a worldwide suspension of service for the aircraft and an extensive investigation into the cause, as well as a correction and recertification for the series.

For much of that period, however, production of aircraft continued. Prior to the suspension of service the 737 MAX had been Boeing’s best-selling jet, and it continues to be so despite a reported 771 cancelled orders since 2019. The OEM has an order backlog for more than 4,400 of the twin-engine aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration recertified the 737 MAX in November 2020, and deliveries resumed in December. Similar recertifications have been issued by regulators in Brazil, Canada, and the European Union.

It’s notable that Chinese regulators have not yet recertified the 737 MAX for service, and that recertification could significantly accelerate demand once it is secured.

A separate issue involving electrical grounding of cockpit back-up power control unit, the units' storage racks, and cockpit instrument panels was identified in April on several dozen 737 MAX jets completed and delivered since the grounding order was lifted late last year. The FAA approved a correction to that problem, which was being implemented this month by the operators.

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