Boeing stands by 787 production rate plan

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Boeing has confirmed the 787 programme will consider a further production rate increase beyond 10 per month in late 2013.

The remarks by Greg Smith, Boeing chief financial officer, confirmed the manufacturer is standing by its current schedule to achieve a monthly 787 production rate of 10 per month in less than two years.

Boeing is now building 2.5 787s per month, said Boeing CEO Jim McNerney. The rate is scheduled to rise to 3.5 per month in the second quarter, he added. Another ramp increase to five per month is planned at the end of the year, with one delivery coming from Boeing's new final assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina.

"We're confident in the amount of 787s and 747s we've projected to deliver," McNerney said.

Any delays in the production ramp could trigger late fees imposed by airlines, and lower operating margins on other programmes as they absorb larger overhead, Smith said.

In 2007, Boeing executives openly discussed opportunities to increase the 787 production rate rapidly to as many as 16 per month. But then technical and manufacturing problems shelved the plans for the production ramp.

The 787 production rate is rising rapidly as the company boosts overall output across the commercial aircraft sector.

Monthly output, measured by units delivered, will grow by 40% over the next three years, McNerney said.

That figure includes already planned production rate increases for the 737, which will grow to 38.5 deliveries per month in the second quarter of 2012 and then to 42 per month in the first half of 2014. The 777 monthly output is scheduled to increase from seven per month to 8.3 per month in 2013.