Aviation News

March 19, 2010

Betting On Industry Recovery, Boeing Boosts Production Rates of 747 and 787

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By: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren
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Boeing 747-8 assembly building, Paine Field, Renton, Washington

A peek inside Boeing’s massive assembly building, where two more 747-8s are under construction. (Photo by Jeremy Lindgren)

Betting on an airline industry recovery by the end of the year and a return to profitability in 2011, Chicago-based Boeing announced today that it will increase production rates on its popular 777 and 747 jumbo jet lines.

Despite scaling back output of the 777 to only five per month in April 2009 due to “significant deterioration in the business environment”, the aerospace giant will gear up production to seven per month by mid-2011. As for the 747-8, Boeing anticipates an increase from one and one half airplanes per month to two per month by mid-2012.

The new 747-8 series, the latest derivative in the iconic but aging 747 line, has only just begun flight testing in the past month, one year behind schedule.

Jim Albaugh, president & CEO of Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, noted that “Our customers recognize the great capability and value of the 777 and 747-8. Market improvement and our conservatively managed approach to production have put us in a position where we see it necessary to raise aircraft output. Increasing our rate[s] is the right thing to do to support our customers.”

Shares of the company rose 42 cents to $71.29 in morning trading after rising earlier in the session to a 52-week high of $73.30, presumably reflecting investor confidence in the decision.