Boeing has decided to further increase monthly 737 deliveries starting in 18 months only four weeks after announcing another production rate jump for the narrowbody.

The Chicago-based airframer now plans to raise monthly 737 next-generation output to 35 in early 2012, or 1 more per month than announced on 17 May.

Boeing currently builds 31.5 737NGs every month to clear an order backlog of more than 2,000 aircraft from more than 80 buyers.

Annual deliveries for 737s, meanwhile, will jump from 378 to 420 after 2012.

The rate increase at Boeing's 737 plant in Renton, Washington, will take effect more than a year after Airbus raises output from 34 to 36 A320s per month starting in December.

Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, did not rule out making further rate adjustments.

"We will continue to monitor demand as we go forward," Albaugh says.

The 737 supply chain, which includes the CFM International CFM56 engine, is preparing to make an "orderly ramp-up" to 35 aircraft per month over the next 18 months, Boeing says.

Along with the rate increase, Boeing also plans to introduce design improvements in early 2012 that should reduce 737 fuel consumption by 2%.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news