The prospect of Boeing expanding 767 production to provide aircraft for 787 customers affected by the programme delay is increasing with the airframer's chairman and chief executive Jim McNerney confirming that output may soon get a boost.

The revelation, made by McNerney in a briefing to investors, comes as a protest claim is still pending from Boeing's lost bid for the US Air Force KC-X tanker contract. "I think we're taking up [production] rates on the 767 soon," he says. "There is a bias to looking at taking up rates."

Boeing says that a firm decision on the move is still pending, but no official explanation has been provided for why it sees demand for boosting 767 production rates beyond the current one aircraft per month level. However, industry sources say that Boeing has proposed the provision of new-build 767-300ERs to airlines with delayed 787s on order. Boeing has 49 767s on backlog, the bulk of which (33) are freighters.

Source: Flight International