(BA - Get Report)
said Thursday it will increase 737 production to 38 monthly in the second quarter of 2013.
The move represents an additional planned increase since the aircraft maker said in June that
it would boost production
to 35 a month in early 2012. That move, announced during the trading day, triggered a 2% increase in the price of Boeing shares. Thursday's announcement came after the market closed.
Boeing stock closed up marginally Thursday at $62.58 and is likely to open higher on Friday, as increased 737 production is a positive development for the company. The current production rate is 31.5 a month.
"Increasing production is in response to customer demand for this airplane," said Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a prepared statement. "Airlines want this innovative airplane sooner to renew their fleets to serve their customers. We made this decision after careful evaluation by Boeing and our supplier partners."
Boeing has a backlog of more than 2,000 orders for the 737 as well as current options that customers are expected to exercise and ongoing sales campaigns. The rate increase is not expected to have a material impact on 2010 financial results. The next-generation 737 was introduced in 1997. By early 2012, a combination of airframe and engine improvements will result in a 2% reduction in the plane's fuel consumption.
Last month, CFO James Bell told an investor conference that Boeing was
considering an increase
to as many as 40 737s a month.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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