Boeing plans to raise its production rate for the 777 program to 8.3 airplanes per month, or 100 airplanes a year, starting in the first quarter of 2013, the company announced this morning. In March the company said it would increase production from five to seven airplanes per month starting in mid-2011.
Carrying a backlog of more than 250 airplanes, the program to date has delivered 907 units and accumulated orders for 1,163. With the rate hikes, the current backlog amounts to more than three years of production. According to Boeing, the program’s suppliers are prepared to support the rate increases.
The decision will not materially affect 2010 financial results, said Boeing.
The planned rate hikes reflect a rather dramatic turnaround for the airline market since the spring of 2009, when Boeing decided to curb 777 output from seven to five airplanes starting this past June. Around the time of that decision, UBS had called for a further 30- to 40-percent cut in 737 production rates. Barely a year later, Boeing announced plans to raise rates on its single-aisle family from 31.5 to 34 per month, then again, to 35 a month, by early 2012. Finally, in September, it announced plans to increase rates yet again, to 38 of the narrowbody airplanes a month, in the second quarter of 2013.