Boeing raised the production rate of its best-selling jetliner, the single-aisle 737, to 38 a month today at its Renton plant.
The production pace increase from 35 to 38 is part of a phased speed-up that will ultimately have the plant building 42 of the twin-engine jets monthly by the end of next year. Boeing has sold more than 10,000 737s, the world’s best-selling commercial airliner.
Last year, Boeing received orders for 1184 737s, more than 2.5 years of production at the 38-per-month production pace.
The company has two Renton assembly lines building commercial 737s and an adjacent assembly hall building a military version of the 737, the P-8A, which is used for maritime surveillance and submarine detection.
The new production rate is a record for Boeing, which had seen the production pace drop to as few as 14 a month in 2003.
The output increase is last step in a two-year process that begins with all of the suppliers who build parts for the 737. All must increase their output to keep pace with the 737 assembly process.
Boeing has seen demand for the aircraft increase dramatically in recent years as the plane’s capabilities have increased. The 737, originally conceived in the 1960s as a short-range aircraft, now has the ability to fly from Seattle to Miami non-stop and to connect the West Coast with Hawaii.
The versions of the plane Boeing is now assembling are part of the third basic version of the plane which Boeing calls the 737 Next Generation. Boeing has already announced a fourth-generation 737 to be dubbed the 737 Max. That plane will displace the Next Generation in Boeing’s lineup when it goes into service in 2017.