Boeing looks distantly at 60 737s per month

Washington DC
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Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh is asking his product development team to examine what it would take to ramp its 737 final assembly line to 60 aircraft per month as the venerable narrowbody is sold out through 2016.

"I've got them working on [evaluating] 60 a month right now," said Albaugh in a speech to the National Aeronautic Association in Washington, DC today.

"It'll be a while before we go that high, but I tell you what if they can build them I think we can sell them."

"I just want to know how far we can go and what would be the investment," he added.

Albaugh has been a strong proponent of raising the company's production rates, with seven full years of production spread across its commercial aircraft backlog, and has expressed a frustration with not being able to offer blue-chip customers access to earlier delivery slots.

Boeing is currently advancing its 737 output from 31.5 per month to 42 per month through a series of record rate increases that will take the airframer to 35 then 38 before arriving at its plateau of 42 in the first half of 2014.

Boeing's two 737 lines in Renton, Washington will each build 20 to 21 aircraft per month, while a third line will produce one P-8 Poseidon per month, a Submarine hunter based on a heavily modified 737-800.

Albaugh sees the capacity of the P-8 line - which is currently configured to conform with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) - as potentially contributing to a rate beyond 42 per month.