First 737 MAX completes assembly at Boeing in Renton, Wash., 2015.

737 MAX Production Rate Increase Reported

June 17, 2024
Boeing’s supplier master schedule appears to indicate that the manufacturer plans to accelerate the completion rate for its top-selling jet series, currently slowed by regulators’ oversight efforts.

Boeing has signaled its 737 MAX program suppliers that the aircraft assembly rate will increase in September to an estimated 42 jets per month. The increase had been expected to be reached this month, but the OEM has been operating under voluntary limits as it works with regulators to determine the sources of various quality and performance failures with the narrow-body aircraft program.

The 737 MAX is Boeing’s best-selling aircraft and the production rate slowdown has impacted earnings, as well as customer relationships.

According to a Reuters report, unconfirmed by Boeing, a new supplier master schedule indicates that expected delivery totals and dates would correspond to a rate increase in September.

Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials have been in place at Boeing since January, following the Alaska Airlines midflight incident that grounded all 737 MAX 9 jets earlier this year. Recently FAA chief Michael Whitaker indicated the agency will keep a close watch on the manufacturer to ensure the operations improvement plan it has submitted for FAA approval is completed.

Boeing has been hopeful of increasing the 737 MAX production rate to a goal of 50 jets per month for several years, but the program has been beset by a series of manufacturing and supply chain complications for more than two years. Many of those issues have been attributed to Spirit AeroSystems, the airframe manufacturer that supplies 737 MAX fuselage structures to Boeing and is likewise having its operations monitored by federal regulators.

The current nominal completion rate for the 737 MAX is 38 jets per month, though Boeing has not defined the actual rate. Based on comments by Boeing executives, it’s generally assumed that the current rate is lower than that figure.