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Thu, May 17, 2012

Boeing Studies 787 Production Rate Increase

New Aircraft Demand Is Growing

Boeing is reportedly on track to reach its production rate target in 2013, and is studying the possibility of increasing that rate. The 787 entered service last year but is more than three years behind schedule due to development delays. Some aviation industry experts doubt that Boeing can raise its production target to 10 aircraft per month when the current rate is 3.5.

Jim Albaugh, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes said during the company’s annual investor conference "To go to 10, I believe the real issues are going to be under our control. Just last week, they finally put a number higher than 10 on the chart. Now don't write down that we're going to higher than 10, but we're trying to understand what it would take to get higher than 10. Once we get to 10, we'll look at where we want to go from there."

Reuters reports the company has over 850 orders for the 787, and raising the production rate would generate revenue needed to fund development of the 737 MAX and other programs. Boeing’s goal is to complete seven aircraft at its Washington facility and an additional three at its South Carolina plant every month. Last month, Albaugh said he believes the South Carolina 787 assembly line can hit or exceed its rate target.

Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney said "Commercial airplanes remains an attractive growth market. Despite the choppy pace of global economic recovery, airline fundamentals generally remain intact, and demand for new planes is strong and growing and fueled by replacement aircraft in many many cases."



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