The year-end totals beat the company’s post-McDonnell Douglas merger record set last year of 648 aircraft deliveries, including only 65 787s. It is likely to heavily beat Airbus’ output in 2014, as the European manufacturer has forecasted a similar number of deliveries in 2014 as last year’s total of 626.
It also easily exceeds the previous record set in 1968 for combined deliveries of Boeing- and Douglas-built aircraft. The two aircraft companies, now merged, delivered 680 aircraft that year.
Boeing doubled monthly output on the 787 production line 10 per month last January and increased the rate by about 10% on the 737 line to 42 last April.
The final delivery total fell near the high end of Boeing’s guidance of between 715 and 725 aircraft deliveries in 2014.
Boeing also delivered 99 777s and six 767s, as expected, in 2014. The company also delivered 19 747-8s, or one more than forecasted by a monthly production rate of 1.5 per month.
The new record was set with the help of a fourth quarter push on the 787 program, in particular. Boeing delivered 35 of the twin-aisle aircraft in the last three months of 2015, or five more than the monthly production rate would suggest.
The delivery totals show the company overcame a series of production system challenges in 2014.
In addition to raising monthly output on two programs, Boeing also faced a setback last July when a train derailment destroyed six completed 737 fuselages en route from Wichita, Kansas, to the final assembly line in Renton, Washington.
Boeing also faced a production bottleneck that emerged early in 2014 at the 787’s mid-body join position in Charleston, South Carolina. Finally, a reported shortage of premium aircraft seating caused some delays for 787 deliveries, such as to American Airlines.
The production system is expected to stabilize at roughly the same level in 2015. Although output may increase slightly on the 767 line, Boeing plans to slightly reduce the pace of deliveries of the 747-8 beginning in August.
No future production rate increases are planned until the 787 program rises to 12 aircraft per month in 2016. The 737, meanwhile, is scheduled to further increase output to 47 per month in 2017 and 52 per month in 2018.
(Stephen Trimble - FlightGlobal News)