Boeing to Step Up 737 Production
For the second time this year, Boeing Co. has announced it will increase its commercial jetliner production to meet higher demand.
The company said Wednesday that it will gradually increase production rates on its 737 jets to 17 airplanes a month by the beginning of 1998.
Boeing currently builds seven of the twin-engine jets a month at its plant in suburban Renton, Wash. It is bringing out a third generation of the aircraft, which has been the best-selling commercial airliner in history since it was introduced in 1965.
Production of 737s will increase to 10 a month in January, then to 12 a month by the second quarter of 1997 and 15 a month by the fourth quarter.
In March, Boeing said it would be producing 27 jetliners a month of all models by the second quarter of 1997, up from 18 1/2 at present. The new schedule means 29 planes a month will be produced by mid-1997 and 34 by early 1998.
In New York Stock Exchange trading, Boeing rose $1.625 to close at $84.75 a share.
The 737, in its various configurations, can carry between 100 and 160 passengers. The 747 is the world’s largest passenger plane, whereas the 757 carries about 200 passengers.
The planned production increases have already spurred Boeing to set in motion plans to hire 8,200 workers this year, most to work at its plants in Seattle.
At the end of the year, Boeing plans to employ 113,350 people.
To date, more than 3,300 of the eight models of the 737 have been ordered and about 2,800 delivered.
The newest models, the 737-600, -700 and -800, seating from 108 to 189 passengers, have garnered 302 orders since they were first offered in November 1993. The first of the new planes is to be delivered in October 1997.
So far this year, Boeing has announced orders for 199 jets worth more than $16 billion.
Demand for new aircraft has increased as the world’s airlines have recovered from the disastrous losses of the early 1990s that were brought on by the Gulf War and global recession.