Southwest Airlines was the launch customer for Boeing’s 737 MAX, with 34 aircraft already delivered and orders in place for 277 more.

Boeing Prepping to Raise 737 MAX Production

Aug. 23, 2019
Sources say plan is to increase output in October and again in February, pending FAA clearance to resume commercial service

The Boeing Co reportedly will increase production of 737 narrow-body aircraft next month from 42 to 47 jets per month, according to reports citing anonymous Boeing suppliers involved in discussions with the OEM.

If the plan proceeds as reported, the production rate would be increased again in February 2020 to 52 jets/month – the rate it had been maintaining until March of this year. Looking out further, it would expand production again 57 jets/month in June 2020.

Boeing has not confirmed the plan nor the discussions with 737 suppliers. The manufacturer is continuing to cooperate with the Federal Aviation Administration to return the idled 737 MAX aircraft to commercial service. That approval is expected during the fourth quarter of this year, according to sources cited by Reuters.

Boeing’s 737 MAX is the latest version of the 737 program, but it has been beset by controversy since a fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March. That followed the crash of a Lion Air flight in October 2018.

Boeing halted deliveries of the 737 series and reduced the production rate to 42 jets/month. Most of its production is concentrated on the 737 MAX (it has an order backlog of more than 4,600 of the 737 MAX) though it continues to produce the previous 737 Next Generation version, too.

FAA, the European Air Safety Administration, and other civil aviation regulators, as well as commercial airlines, have suspended the 737 MAX from service.

Any plan to resume a more normal production rate and deliveries would depend upon the FAA clearing the aircraft to resume service. That decision depends upon the effectiveness of a revised flight-control software, which Boeing has identified as the cause of the two crashes.