Boeing returns 777 rate to seven per month

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Boeing has returned its 777 production rate to seven aircraft per month after dropping down to a rate of five aircraft per month following the global economic crisis, the company has announced via Twitter.

The company says it plans to return to the 777's production peak in March 2010, just 11 months after it opted to cut the rate to five aircraft per month.

The return to seven aircraft per month is enabled through reactivation of its third systems installation positions at the beginning of the moving horse shoe-shaped final assembly line at its Everett, Washington facility.

Previously, Boeing had been using two of the three systems installation positions when it dropped down to five aircraft per month in June 2010.

The airframer will first stabilise its rate at seven per month before moving to its next level - 8.3 aircraft per month - announced in December 2010, a target set to be achieved by first quarter 2013, delivering 100 777s per year.

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.

Loftis adds that the company is evaluating the staffing, capital requirements, manufacturing plans of its first tier suppliers, as well as extending those same assessments to sub-tier suppliers.

Boeing says increased demand for the 777 is driving the production rate decisions and has already taken orders for 29 new 777s in 2011.