Aviation giant Boeing is planning to increase the production of its much-anticipated 737 MAX—its next generation model with greater fuel efficiency compared to its predecessor—from 42 to 60 airplanes per month. Initially, it announced to ramp up production to 47 by 2017, but analysts expect the company to boost it up to five dozen or more per month.
Pressure from Competition
Apart from the spiraling demands, the Chicago-based company is under the gun to take its production to several notches to keep pace with rival Airbus. The European aircraft manufacturer is set to launch its A320neo in late 2015—almost two years before the scheduled first delivery of MAX. As the 737s comprise 75% of the company’s commercial aircraft business, Boeing definitely feels the pressure to improve manufacturing speed to cut the wait, which currently stands at years for some airlines that order the new model.
A Challenge for Suppliers As Well
Suppliers, like Boeing fuselage builder Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, share the burden, as faster production also means expanded support facilities. According to an aerospace analyst, Boeing may decide to open another 737 fuselage assembly line to handle the increase.
Boeing has generated 550 orders so far this 2014 and delivered only 278—leaving its overall backlog of over 5,200 airplanes.