Boeing announced today that it's planning to produce more 737s every month, even as it prepares to put the new-version 737MAX into production for first delivery next year. But production of the 'classic' 777 will be reduced pending arrival of the 777X, and 747 production is being reduced to six planes a year.
Demand for current versions of the 737 remains high, Boeing told analysts in a financial report call, and the current 42-a-month production will hit 57 a month by 2019. Boeing has a backlog of 4300 orders for 737s, including over 3000 for the MAX, whose first flight will be any day now.
Even at 57 a month, the output will be a little below Airbus's rate for single-aisle planes. Airbus's A320 is the 737's direct competitor, and the A320neo, which just had its first delivery, is aimed at the MAX. All 737s are built in Boeing's Renton, WA plant, while the A320 family has final assembly points in Europe, China and the U.S.
The order book is not so happy for the 777, although it continues to be a very popular plane. Between growing fleets of the slightly-smaller 787 and other factors, Boeing's book for 'classic' models is not enough to keep making 8.3 a month until 777X production starts, and the rate is being reduced to 7 a month. The 747, latest version of a plane with nearly 50 years of service, will be reduced to 6 a month; these days it sells few, most of them freighters.