Boeing's 787 production at record high, but misses deadline

Reuters

By Alwyn Scott

SEATTLE, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Boeing Co said on Friday it is producing its 787 Dreamliner at the highest ever rate of 10 per month, a milestone achieved when the first jet built at that rate rolled off the assembly line.

The achievement confirmed that Boeing had missed its often-stated target of reaching that rate by the end of 2013.

The target was reiterated by Chief Executive Jim McNerney in October, when Boeing released third-quarter results. More detail is expected when the company releases fourth-quarter results on Wednesday.

The company did not say on Friday exactly when the jet, a 787-8 and the 155th Dreamliner produced, had actually been completed. The jet entered production on Nov. 14, 2013. The company said it has delivered 115 Dreamliners to 16 customers. The latest jet will go to International Lease Finance Corp and will be operated by Aeromexico.

Boeing's next goals are building 12 787s a month by mid-2016 and 14 a month by the end of the decade. The high-tech carbon-fiber composite jet, which costs $212 million at list price, has garnered 1,030 total orders from 60 customers. But it also has suffered reliability problems and fires caused by batteries and electrical panels.

The new rate of 10 a month is "the highest ever for a twin-aisle airplane," Boeing said, noting that it has ramped up 787 production from five planes a month in November 2012.

The planes are built in Everett, Washington, and North Charleston, South Carolina.

Earlier this week, Boeing confirmed that it is hiring workers at North Charleston. The hiring is partly aimed at avoiding production problems there.

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