Key Points:

  • Boeing has revised its production schedule for the 737 narrowbody jetliner, pushing back the target for reaching a production rate of 42 jets per month by two months to February 2024.

  • The delay is attributed to ongoing supply chain disruptions that have plagued both Boeing and Airbus, making it difficult for them to meet soaring customer demand for single-aisle aircraft.

  • Despite the delay, Boeing remains committed to its long-term goal of reaching a production rate of 50 jets per month by 2025 or 2026.

Production Ramp-Up Faces Headwinds

Boeing's ambitious plan to increase production of its popular 737 family of aircraft has encountered a setback, with the company announcing a two-month delay in its target for reaching a production rate of 42 jets per month. The new schedule now sets February 2024 as the timeframe for achieving this milestone, compared to the previously anticipated date of December 2023.

This delay is primarily attributed to ongoing challenges in the global supply chain, which have impacted both Boeing and its European rival Airbus. These challenges include shortages of key components, such as semiconductors and engines, as well as logistical issues like port congestion and delays in shipping materials.

The master schedule for the 737, which lays out the expected production rate for suppliers, serves as a crucial tool for managing the complex and global supply chain involved in building these aircraft. While the schedule is subject to change based on various factors, it provides an important gauge of confidence for the industry.

Boeing Reassures Suppliers and Investors

In response to the revised schedule, Boeing has assured its suppliers that it remains committed to its long-term production goals. The company spokesperson confirmed that Boeing still plans to increase production to 50 airplanes per month by 2025 or 2026, reiterating one of the company's publicly acknowledged targets.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has also expressed confidence in the company's ability to reach a production rate of 60 737s per month, stating that they have the necessary capital and demand to achieve this goal. However, he has emphasized the need to ensure that the planned rate increases can be supported by the supply chain.

Looking Ahead: A Focus on Supply Chain Resilience

While the current production delay presents a temporary setback, it is important to note that Boeing has already taken significant steps to address supply chain challenges. These efforts include developing closer relationships with key suppliers, diversifying their sourcing base, and investing in digital technologies to improve supply chain visibility and coordination.

By continuing to focus on building a more resilient and efficient supply chain, Boeing can ensure that it is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for its 737 aircraft and achieve its long-term production goals.