Boeing set to cut 787 production rate to 10 per month

Boeing 787-10 in the production line. Photo: © Boeing

In its quarterly earnings report, Boeing has disclosed that it will cut the production rate of its 787 ‘Dreamliner’ to 12 aircraft a month by the end of 2020 and to 10 aircraft a month in 2021.

While the exact time frame for this reduction is not yet known, Boeing hopes to return to a rate of 12 aircraft per month in 2023. The current 787 backlog is 546 aircraft strong and consists of 56 787-8, 346 787-9 and 144 of the largest Dreamliner version, the 787-10. At the current rate of 14 aircraft per month this backlog would have been fulfilled in just over three years. With the reduction to the new rate of 10 aircraft per month over the coming 23 months, this backlog would last for four years.

Last year, Boeing only recorded net orders for 82 787, about half of the 158 planes it delivered in 2019. The biggest orders came from Emirates for 30 as well as Lufthansa and Korean Air which both ordered 20. With an end on the horizon for the US-China trade war Boeing hopes to collect more orders from Chinese airlines in the next year.

The company has two production sites for the 787 Dreamliner. Everett, Washington, where Boeing builds most its wide body aircraft types, and North Charleston, South Carolina, which was added in 2011. The longer 787-10 is exclusively being built in South Carolina, as its fuselage parts are to large for the Everett facility.

Wednesday’s earnings report from Boeing shows that the aircraft manufacturer made an annual loss for the first time since 1997. Total aircraft delivery figures in 2019 were less than half that of 2018.