Aviation

Boeing will increase 737 production

Boeing Co. said Thursday that it will increase production of its workhorse 737 to 38 a month.

Boeing currently makes the planes at a rate of just more than one a day and was planning to speed that up.

The company said it will make 38 of the planes every month by the second quarter of 2013 because of strong customer demand.

Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems makes the 737 fuselage and other components.

Just a few weeks ago a Boeing executive said the company was thinking about making as many as 40 of the planes per month. On Thursday, Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx said there is still upward pressure on the production rate.

"We'll continue to study our ability to move beyond 38. That's not necessarily near-term though," he said.

Boeing said it made the decision after consulting with customers as well as suppliers, who need to be able to increase their own production to match Boeing's.

Boeing said the increase would not affect its 2010 financial results.

Boeing has orders for more than 2,000 of the planes, which it makes in larger number than any of its other commercial jets. Of Boeing's 278 orders this year, 250 are for the 737. It's generally used on shorter-haul domestic routes.

Also Thursday, Boeing said it had booked orders for 20 new aircraft in the last week, although it lost a few, too.

The orders include 15 new 737s. Customers also ordered five new 777s, a larger plane often used on longer flights. None of the customers were identified.

Customers canceled orders for one 737 and two 777s.

Besides the new orders, Boeing identified Continental Airlines as the customer for seven of its 737s. The airline was previously listed as an unidentified customer.

The 737 sells for between $51.5 million and $87 million, while the 777 can bring $205 million to $286.5 million at list prices, although discounts are common.

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