Aviation News

January 30, 2013

Boeing to Boost 737 Production

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By: Jason Rabinowitz
737 wing mechanics Jon Powell, Jared Sanchez, Ron Doleman, Mike Graham and Ron McNabb lift a 737 wing spar part into the automated spar assembly tool. (Photo courtesy of Boeing)
737 wing mechanics Jon Powell, Jared Sanchez, Ron Doleman, Mike Graham and Ron McNabb lift a 737 wing spar part into the automated spar assembly tool. (Photo courtesy of Boeing)
Some much needed good news was delivered by Boeing, yesterday, as they announced that the rate of production of the 737 has been increased to 38 airplanes per month. Over the past two years, the Next-Generation 737 has seen its production increased by more than 20 percent, from just over 31 per month, to the current rate of 38. Boeing expects to further increase the production rate of the 737 to 42 per month in 2014.

Yesterday, the first 737 built at the new rate had mechanics finish loading initial parts of the wing spars into an automated spar-assembly machine.  This first aircraft will be delivered in the second quarter of 2013. The current backlog of orders for the 737 stands at over 3,049.

In order to increase the production rate, Boeing had to work closely in conjunction with their supply chain. They constructed a new 75,000-square-foot building to house buyer-furnished equipment, as well as tweaked several assembly line procedures.

Boeing also detailed future plans for assembly of the 737 MAX, which is expected to enter production in several years. To accommodate the MAX in the current Renton facility, Boeing plans to build them on a line adjacent to the 737NG to avoid disruption. However, once the production process for the 737 MAX has been proven, the lines will be integrated.

The positive announcements otherwise come during a period of trouble for Boeing, as their flagship 787 Dreamliner remains grounded due to issues with its crispy lithium ion batteries and finicky electrical system. The 787 issues, however, have not stopped Boeing from increasing the production rate of the 737; their most popular aircraft.