Friday, September 17, 2010
For the third time this year Boeing is announcing a 737 production rate increase. It will eventually mean more hiring, and Boeing, knowing they have a hot product that the world's airlines want more of, are wisely upping future plans to build more of these planes a month.
That's good news for Spirit Aerospace employees in Wichita because they build about 75% of the plane here. The current production rate is 31 1/2 planes a month, and now Boeing says it needs to increase again to 38 airplanes a month the second quarter of 2013.
Customer demand is forcing Boeing's hand on this. Increasing the rate will eventually mean a shorter wait time for airlines wanting to upgrade their fleets. Spirit isn't ready to quantify how the increase will impact work in Wichita.
Spirit Communications Manager Ken Evans says, "While we usually leave public discussions about rates to our customers, we can say that it's always good news when we get an opportunity to go faster. As for impact to Spirit, we have no new announcements to make at this time. This particular rate increase doesn't go into effect until April of 2013."
Spirit's 737 line workers are excited about the prospect of work coming. They believe more will have to be hired to meet the demand. Boeing's 737 backlog stands at more than 2,000 jetliners. At some point we expect to hear more from Spirit on their plans to ramp up for the expected production rate increase.