Boeing is increasing producing of its most popular airplane, the 737, to a record 38 per month. That’s up from 35 per month.
The expensive and complex move has changed virtually the entire production line at the plant in Renton. Boeing has been preparing for more than two years by rearranging equipment to become more efficient. It’s also worked with suppliers who have been forced to make changes to their production as well.
Many have been skeptical of ramping up production, but getting the 737 rate increase right is crucial for Boeing because the narrow-bodied plane is its biggest seller and seen as critical for maintaining cash flow and profitability.
“The real important thing is to stay competitive and meet customer requirements,” said Michel Merluzeau, analyst and CEO of G2 Solutions in Kirkland. “Boeing is dealing with massive amounts of aircraft. This is a necessity.”
Boeing expects to increase production to 42 airplanes per month in 2014.
The Renton factory will also be home to the future 737 MAX, the new engine variant of the 737. The 737 MAX is on track to be delivered in 2017.