Boeing has announced that it will make further cuts to the monthly production rates of its two main wide-body aircraft families 777 and 787. It also plans to reduce its workforce, affecting about ten percent of its employees.
This was mentioned in the company’s results for the first quarter of 2020, during which Boeing Commercial Airplanes delivered 50 aircraft.
Production of the 777/777X family will be reduced to just three airplanes per month in 2021, according to the release.
The 777X is the new generation of the top-selling 777 and also Boeing’s largest passenger airliner with outstanding orders. Despite the success of the ‘original’ 777, the new variant is lacking behind in terms of orders, with most sales coming from the three major gulf airlines – similar to what the Airbus A380 experienced.
Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, currently its most successful wide-body aircraft type by outstanding orders, will also see a major production cut. The manufacturer says it will reduce the monthly output from 14 to 10 airplanes this year, followed by a further gradual decrease to seven per month by 2022.
In January, before the Coronavirus became a global crisis – especially for aviation – Boeing had already announced plans to reduce 787 production. At that time, the manufacturer intended to cut its output to 12 per month by the end of this year and then to 10 per month in 2021.
Now, the aviation is experiencing its worst crisis ever, and airlines do not expect demand to reach ‘pre-Coronavirus’ levels for years to come. This will inevitably lead to a lower demand for new aircraft over the coming few years.
It was not immediately clear where the cuts to the 787 program would be made. The aircraft type is being produced at two sites. Everett, Washington, where most of Boeing’s overall production is located, as well as Charleston, South Carolina.
Earlier this week, the company announced that it expects work at the South Carolina facility to resume on May 3 or May 4. At the moment, production is temporarily suspended since April 8 due to the spread of the Coronavirus.
Output of the Boeing 767 and 747 families remains unaffected for now. The 737 MAX, the company’s only single-isle aircraft, is currently not being built, not due to Coronavirus but because of the worldwide grounding of the type since March 2019. Boeing first continued to produce the aircraft, but stopped doing so in January this year.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.