Boeing looks at increasing 737 output to 42 a month

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Boeing is examining the possibility of pushing 737 production to 42 aircraft a month as it returns monthly 777 production to seven from five airframes.

The US airframer is ramping 737 production beyond 31.5 aircraft a month with plans to advance to 35 a month by early 2012, followed by a further jump to 38 aircraft a month by the second quarter of 2013.

Speaking at the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading event in Scottsdale, Arizona, Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Jim Albaugh said the airframer was taking "a hard look" at a further production increase of narrowbodies at its Renton, Washington facility.

While the company continues to debate re-engining the 737 or replacing it with a new aircraft, production will continue for 15-20 years. Airbus has been considering raising its A320-family monthly rate to 44.

Boeing says it has returned 777 production rate to seven, after dropping to five following the economic crisis, by reactivating a third systems installation position at the beginning of its horseshoe-shaped final assembly line in Everett.

It will stabilise its rate at seven before moving to 8.3 aircraft by the first quarter of 2013.

Boeing 777 vice-president and general manager Larry Loftis said in a recent briefing that the company was evaluating long lead time production parts and has been conducting a production readiness assessment, ensuring the supply chain is ready for the increased output.

Understanding its coming rate increases across 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 programmes, Loftis says Boeing is staggering jumps in production across the supply base to allow for stabilisation at a given rate before moving to its next rate break.