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Boeing looks to increase 737 production to 38 per month

written by Jake Nelson | July 27, 2023

The Boeing 737-10 is the largest in the 737 MAX family. (Image: Boeing)

In what will likely be welcome news to Virgin Australia, which is still waiting on most of its MAX 8 and MAX 10 orders, Boeing is ramping up 737 production from 31 to 38 planes per month.

In a quarterly earnings call, the planemaker said it is in “prep mode” to further increase 737 production to 42 per month. Though did not give a firm date, it plans to reach 50 planes per month by 2025–26. Production of 787s is also increasing to five per month later this year, and 10 by 2025–26.

Boeing delivered 103 737s in the quarter, 49 of which were delivered in June alone. The ramp-up follows a spate of issues at supplier Spirit Aerosystems that caused significant delays.

“In May we resumed deliveries of reworked airplanes and also began producing newly-built airplanes meeting our specifications,” Boeing CFO Brian West told investors.

“As we move to the higher rate, we’ll continue to prioritize stability and it will take some time to consistently deliver at 38 per month off the line. We still project full-year 737 deliveries of 400 to 450 with sequential improvement in the second half.”


Virgin Australia finally received its first of eight planned 737 MAX 8 aircraft, VH-8IA ‘Monkey Mia’, at the end of last month. The plane made its first trip on its regular route from Cairns to Tokyo (Haneda) on Saturday, after having flown domestically to obtain regulatory approvals and familiarise crews with its operations. In addition to the MAX 8s, Virgin has 25 of the larger MAX 10s on order.

Boeing in April told the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that Spirit had advised it of a “nonstandard manufacturing process” used for fittings in the 737 MAX’s aft fuselage that could result in noncompliance with required specifications. This affects a “significant number” of undelivered planes, it said in a statement.

“We expect lower near-term 737 MAX deliveries while this required work is completed. We regret the impact that this issue will have on affected customers and are in contact with them concerning their delivery schedule,” the statement read.

Bonza is the only other Australian operator of the 737 MAX, with a fleet comprising four MAX 8 aircraft. The low-cost carrier cut back on routes earlier this month due in part to its small fleet, and is expecting its fifth by year’s end, according to chief customer officer Carly Povey.

“We know enough to know that the fifth aircraft is likely imminent, but not until towards the back end of the year,” she told Australian Aviation at the time.

“We are comfortable now we’ve made these changes that we can operate the network we have with those four aircraft, and then we’re going to focus on earning the right to grow.”

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