Boeing plans to increase production of its 777 and 747 widebody programmes beginning in 2011 and 2012.

Production of the 777 is rising from five aircraft per month to seven starting in mid-2011, six months earlier than a previously planned increase.

For the 747, Boeing is accelerating an increase originally scheduled for mid-2013 to mid-2012. Production will rise from its current level of 1.5 per month to a monthly rate of two aircraft.

Boeing says suppliers for both programmes will be prepared to support the accelerated rate increases.

"We see 2010 as the year of overall economic recovery within the industry and 2011 a year where airlines return to profitability," says Randy Tinseth, VP of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "As a result, we anticipate an increase in demand for airplanes in 2012 and beyond."

Boeing's decision to increase widebody production follows a 9 March announcement by Airbus that it plans to grow A320 narrowbody production from 34 to 36 aircraft per month starting in December.

Recently Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Jim Albaugh said the company is continuing to evaluate its narrowbody 737 production rates, which are currently 31.5 aircraft per month, and expects to render a decision mid-year.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news