Boeing to advance monthly 787 output from two to 2.5 mid-year

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Boeing is set to increase 787 production from two to 2.5 aircraft per month on its Everett, Washington final assembly line mid-year, as it seeks it bring its second Charleston, South Carolina factory online.

"We're still in a moderated glideslope in terms of raising our rates, we're at about two a month now, we'll be at 2.5 over the summer and we'll be moving gradually to a ten a month rate by the end of 2013," said Boeing CFO James Bell at the JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Defense conference.

Programme sources say the rate is set to jump on the primary Everett line in June, with Boeing targeting July for the first 787, Airplane 46, to enter final assembly in South Carolina.

Bell says the Charleston line is coming in "ahead of schedule and below costs".

A third surge line in Everett is aimed at bolstering production as the Charleston line ramps up to three aircraft per month and is expected to be operational by 2012.

Though Bell cautioned that meeting the planned 787 ramp up by the end 2013 could be derailed as it moves forward: "We're going to be realistic that if we see issues there that would require us to rethink how fast we go we'll do that. We're gonna make sure we do this thing right. Because for the long haul I think it's more important that its right than necessarily be on time, but clearly we are planning on it being on time."

Boeing is more than three years behind schedule delivering its first 787, which it plans to hand over to Japan's All Nippon Airways in May 2008. According to internal company planning, the first aircraft will be delivered in late July of this year.

Boeing currently holds orders for 843 787s.