Boeing (NYSE: BA) today began building the first 777 at the highest rate ever for a Boeing twin-aisle airplane. The rate of 8.3 airplanes per month is a nearly 20 percent increase over the previous seven per month rate.
The first part, the lower lobe of the aft fuselage, of the first 777 to be built at the new rate was loaded into position in the factory earlier today.
“The preparation the team has done for this historic rate increase has been comprehensive from floor to ceiling,” said Scott Fancher, 777 vice president and general manager. “We’ve hired and trained hundreds of additional employees and the efforts of the team to get us to this point have been simply outstanding,” he said.
New technologies have been implemented to achieve the highest production rate the Everett plant has seen. Flex-track drilling machines in the 777 body and wings area along with automated spray-painting equipment have enabled employees to increase productivity and improve quality and safety.
“This rate increase reflects the strong demand for the 777. It continues to be the clear leader in the 300-400 passenger seat market,” Fancher said.
The airplane, a 777 Freighter, will be delivered to Korean Air in February 2013.
1,049 777s are currently in service. 1,380 have been ordered from 63 customers around the globe.