Boeing will increase 737 MAX production rates 'very soon'
By Valerie Insinna
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Boeing Co will increase 737 MAX production rates above the current rate of 31 jets per month "very soon," the head of its commercial airplanes business said on Thursday.
The company is also making progress with the new 737 MAX 7 model and is in the process of completing final submissions for Federal Aviation Administration certification, Stan Deal told reporters.
"We've got a handful - less than a handful - left to go to the FAA," he said. "We're working a few issues around those submittals. I want them to be perfect, I want the FAA to feel comfortable, and then give them the time to go review."
Boeing shares rose on the news, closing up 1.5%.
Last week, Chief Financial Officer Brian West reiterated Boeing's expectation that the MAX 7 will complete certification this year, paving the way for first delivery this year as well.
Boeing continues to grapple with supply chain headaches as it pushes to ramp up production of the bestselling MAX narrowbody jet as well as its widebody 787 Dreamliner.
On Thursday, Deal said the situation is "getting better" but that aerospace companies are still working to train fresh hires to handle the influx of post-pandemic aircraft orders.
Boeing plans to increase monthly MAX production to 50 planes per month by the end of 2026, while ramping 787 production to 10 aircraft per month during the same period.
In the near term, the company also intends to extend 787 Dreamliner production from its current low rate of less than three jets to five jets per month by the end of 2023.
Deal declined to comment on when Boeing would ramp up to its previous rate of three 787s per month, but said a recent 787 delivery delay to American Airlines is not indicative of a production slowdown.
“We’ve got a couple of suppliers we’re working with,” Deal said, declining to name which companies are receiving assistance from Boeing. “We’re making sure our factory is stable, but you will see that [rate] turn up this year.”
(Reporting by Valerie Insinna in New YorkEditing by Marguerita Choy and Deepa Babington)