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Boeing 777 returns to seven-per-month production rate

Workers rolled out the first Boeing (NYSE: BA) 777 jetliner at the seven-per-month rate. The airplane, a freighter, will deliver to FedEx Express in June.

This is the fourth time that the program has built the 777 at the seven-per-month rate. The program also built at this rate from July 1997 to February 1998, August 1998 to October 1999 and most recently from November 2006 to May 2010.

"This rate increase reflects the strong demand for the 777. It continues to be the clear leader in the 300-400 passenger seat market," said Larry Loftis, 777 vice president and general manager. "We were prepared, thorough and disciplined as we have increased our production rate from five to seven."

As production rate increased, the program reduced production flow from 52 to 49 days from start to finish. Days of flow were removed in wing spar, service-ready wing and final body join areas. The flow reduction is attributed to increased productivity in those areas.

"We incorporated lessons learned from previous rate increases to ensure we'd have the smoothest transition," said Loftis. "Fortunately, we entered the rate break when the program is very healthy, and we are experiencing some of the all-time-best metrics," he added.

"Our customers are eager to buy more 777s and the airplane has rightly earned the reputation as the market leader. Now, our job is to deliver," said Loftis.

The 777 program received 48 new orders through April 2011, and has a backlog of more than 280 airplanes. In first quarter 2013 the program will again increase rate from seven to 8.3 airplanes per month –100 airplanes per year – an all-time high.

Press release issued by Boeing Commercial Airplanes on May 16, 2011


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