SEATTLE - Boeing's Renton, Wash., factory revealed plans to hit another record forty-seven 737s each month in 2017.
It's currently building the jets at 38 a month and is on its way to 42 by the first half of 2014. Once it reaches the 47 a month rate, the Renton plant will be on target to crank out 560 planes each year.
Orders keep pouring in for the single aisle airplanes from both Boeing and for Airbus and its A320 series of jets. The 737 remains the most popular airliner in history with 11,200 ordered since the early versions of the jet took to the air in the 1960s.
The rate increase will come in the same year the new 737-MAX variant is delivered, now scheduled for the third quarter of 2017. The MAX features a new, even more fuel efficient engine and other smaller changes to the air-frame that Boeing now says will increase fuel efficiency by 14 percent over the current line of so called next generation 737 jets. Airlines have placed orders for 1,600 737 MAX jets, and currently the company says it has more than 3,400 unfilled orders for both current and future models.
Boeing has said Renton has the capacity to produce as many as 63 737s each month but has given no indication it plans to push production that far.
The company has stated repeatedly it plans its rate increases carefully and executes them slowly to avoid disruption of its supply chain and avoid many of the boom and bust cycles that characterized airplane building in the 1980s and 1990s.