Boeing has rolled out the first 777 built at the program’s increased production rate of 8.3 per month, or 100 airplanes per year, the company announced Thursday. Plans call for delivery of the airplane—a 777 Freighter—to Korean Air in February.
The production increase began in October, when the first airplane parts entered Boeing’s widebody factory in Everett, Washington. The company has planned for the increase for almost a year.
“As we built the first airplane at the new rate, we saw some of the best production metrics ever,” said airplane development vice president and 777 program chief Scott Fancher. “Our factory is running smoothly and we’ve reduced the time it takes to build a 777 by one day from 49 to 48 days.”
New manufacturing innovations such as flex-track drilling in the body and wing panels, automated floor drilling and wings painting equipment also contributed to the increased efficiency, said Boeing.
“Employee involvement teams have been critical to the rate increase,” Fancher said. “Ideas from those teams are saving time while improving quality and safety.”
In the past 31 months, the 777’s production rate has risen twice—first from five to an all-time high production rate of seven in 2011, and now to another new record of 8.3 airplanes per month.
Boeing has delivered 1,066 triple-sevens to date and it has collected orders for 1,431 from 66 customers.