EXCLUSIVE Boeing aims to nearly double 737 MAX production by end of 2023 – sources

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A Boeing 737 MAX plane lands after a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S., June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Karen Ducey/File Photo

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SEATTLE/PARIS, March 4 (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N) has preliminary plans to ramp up production of its 737 cash cow family narrowbody to around 47 per month by the end of the next year as the US aircraft maker seeks to expand its recovery from successive crises, two people familiar with the matter said.

After cutting production mainly due to the pandemic, Boeing and its European rival Airbus SE (AIR.PA) are seeing increased demand for their medium-range passenger jets, as the two aircraft manufacturers have added eye-catching offers to their books. orders in recent weeks.

Boeing’s production plans change and are influenced by many factors, people have warned. Doubts are already swirling in the industry about whether the supply chain will be able to meet aggressive plans to ramp up production, particularly in Europe. Suppliers are grappling with labor and material shortages and weakened balance sheets in the wake of the overlapping pandemic and 737 MAX grounding crises.

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Boeing said in late January it was working to eliminate an inventory of 335 737 MAX planes amassed following two fatal plane crashes that grounded the plane for 20 months. He estimated most of those jets would be delivered by the end of 2023.

Boeing declined to comment on its production plans and referred to its last public statements.

In late January, Chief Financial Officer Brian West said the 737 program was producing at a rate of 27 jets per month and was on track to hit 31 per month “fairly soon”.

Two of the people said the 31-jet monthly stride would come in the second half, although a third person said it could come sooner.

Beyond that, Boeing aims to increase to around 38 narrowbody jets per month in the first half of 2023, and to reach around 47 jets per month in the second half of 2023, two people said.

Boeing was setting the stage to nearly double production by the end of 2023, the third person said, but noted that plans could change due to supply chain constraints or other factors.

A pace of 47 planes per month is five less than its build rate in 2019, when the 737 MAX was grounded.

Airbus, meanwhile, has set a production target of 65 per month by summer 2023 for its A320 family narrowbody.

He has been at odds with French-led engine makers Safran (SAF.PA) over his ambitions to then push production up to 75 a month.

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Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle and Tim Hepher in Paris; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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