Boeing has hinted that the company is set on ramping up the production of its workhorse 737 MAX aircraft in response to surging demand.
According to sources who spoke to Reuters, the American planemaker is eyeing the production of 47 jets per month by the end of 2023.
While the aviation industry continues to bounce back from the woes of the pandemic, supply chain issues and global lockdowns have continued to hamper production rates for several manufacturers.
In May 2021, Boeing ambitiously planned to boost its production of the jets to 42 per month by the third quarter of this year, but the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and continuous supply chain delays has put the goal into question.
According to Boeing’s chief financial officer Brian West’s comments in January, the 737 model was being produced at a rate of 27 per month in past months and is set to reach 31 “fairly soon”.
Two sources claimed Boeing would manufacture 31 by the second half of 2022, and another said it could occur sooner.
Then the planemaker expects to increase production to 38 during early 2023, and by the latter half of the year, Boeing anticipates reaching the goal of 47 jets per month.
For over a year, Boeing has been working to clear its backlog of hundreds of undelivered narrowbody jets that were delayed due to the 20-month groundings, and it is continuing clearing its inventory of 335 MAXs.
The sources estimate the aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2023, pending on minor interruptions such as supply chain issues or other factors, which they said could make a difference.
Supply chain issues have always been a reason for shifting production rates, but it was heightened during the pandemic and furthermore the current Russia-Ukrainian war.
In late February, Boeing said, however, it was not concerned with the Russian titanium supply chain issues, and it was keeping a close eye on other factors.
European competitor Airbus also said in response to whether supply chain issues would interrupt production, it was “doing everything” it could “for that not to be the case”.
Earlier in December, many companies were struggling in response to delays caused by the Omicron variant and the surging travel that commercial aviation couldn’t keep up with.
However, the plans to increase production, regardless of potential setbacks, shows a clear sign of recovery for the aviation industry, as Boeing’s ambitions are only few less than its rate in 2019, when it manufactured 52 per month.
While the groundings over the aircraft impacted the company’s reputation for years, and still continues to, the 737 MAX remains its highest sold jet after it re-entered the market in November 2020.
In January, out of 77 orders, 55 were for the 737 MAX jet, and the rest were for Boeing’s 777F aircraft.