Boeing to build 737s into the 2020s, exec says
Some good news you may have missed, amid all the recent South Carolina tumult: the Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president in charge of strategic planning said last week that the Company expects to be building 737s in Renton for at least the next decade, and probably longer.
In a speech to the Renton Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 27, Mike Bair (remember him?) said there is “zero” chance that the Company would consider moving production of its best-selling workhorse 737. And after building more than 6,000 of them in Renton, Boeing is “really good at it,” he said.
In fact, Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia says that “the great fuselage machine in Renton” is “arguably the most-efficient aircraft production line ever invented.” The 737’s such a versatile workhorse jet, he told the AeroMechanic back in September, that “I’d be surprised if the 737, perhaps with new engines, isn’t still in production until the end of the next decade — til 2019.”
Bair is in charge of developing a replacement for the 737. But in his speech, Bair told the Renton business community that his team’s having a hard time designing a plane that’s more efficient than the 737. The new technology Boeing developed for the 787 doesn’t “scale down” well, he said.
Earlier this year, Boeing delivered the 6,000th 737, to Jet Airways of India. It’s already sold planes 7,000 (to Lion Air of Indonesia) and 8,000 (to Malaysian Airlines), and as of the end of October, the Company had a backlog of 2,101 still to deliver — close to six full years of production, even at today’s record rates of more than one plane a day. Bair described the 737 line as being sold out through the end of 2015.
The 737 has the distinction of being the Boeing production aircraft with the highest percentage of Union-made components, noted District 751 President Tom Wroblewski.
“Boeing’s most-successful plane is the result of a strong partnership with its Union workforce here in Puget Sound,” he said. “I think it’s important for everyone to remember that.”