ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — Boeing aims to increase production of its top-selling 737 MAX jet to 52 units per month by January 2025 in an effort to recover from the impact of two fatal crashes and the COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced output, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The company plans to raise its monthly MAX production rates to 38 by June, 42 by January 2024, and 47 by June 2024. Boeing previously announced intentions to return to a production rate of around 50 by 2025 or 2026 but had not disclosed specific ramp-up plans for suppliers. The current production rate is 31 per month.

Boeing declined to comment on its production plans. As the company works to overcome its challenges, expediting the production of the profitable MAX is seen as a crucial task for Boeing Commercial Airplanes and its CEO, Stan Deal. He indicated in March that production rates would increase from the current rate of 31 jets "very soon."

Achieving a production rate of 52 planes per month by January 2025 would allow Boeing to maintain a 40% market share in the narrowbody market, which analysts believe is the minimum required to sustain a duopoly with European rival Airbus, which is also expanding single-aisle production.

Airbus plans to produce 65 single-aisle jets per month by the end of 2024, eventually increasing to 75 per month in 2026. Boeing's plan is seen as "relatively realistic" by Michel Merluzeau, an aerospace analyst at Air consultancy, given that suppliers may struggle to accommodate higher production rates.

Also read: Boeing to Boost 737 MAX Production Rates, Nears Certification for MAX 7 Model

However, Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with AeroDynamic Advisories, suggested that Boeing's market share could decrease further in the latter half of the 2020s if Airbus continues to see strong sales of its A321neo.

Boeing's supply chain health remains a critical factor, with challenges in hiring and training workers causing parts shortages. Merluzeau noted that 737 MAX production seems to be stabilizing as Boeing's hiring efforts yield results.

Although Boeing's guidance provides suppliers with more clarity on the production timeline, both Aboulafia and Merluzeau emphasized the need for the company to ensure the financial health of its smaller suppliers amid economic pressures.