Spirit builds about 70 percent of every 737 for Boeing, work that carries over to the MAX.
The 737 has been a workhorse in Wichita for years, helping it claim the title of the Air Capital’s most important aircraft program.
Here are four reasons why the new variant will be so important to helping it keep that title for years to come:
• Production rates — The integration of the MAX version, featuring new CFM LEAP-1B engines to attract customers with better fuel efficiency, is key to Boeing’s move to increase production rates on the single-aisle 737 line. The company currently builds 42 737s a month, but has already announced plans for a stepped increase to 52 per month in 2018 — the year after the MAX enters service — and if demand holds, there could be even more increases. That will keep the most important manufacturing line in Wichita humming along for years to come.
• Backlog — Boeing has already secured 2,800 orders for the 737 MAX. At the current production rate of 42, just the MAX backlog alone would account for more than five years of work for the 737 line at Spirit.
• Revenue — The list price of the 737 MAX ranges from $90.2 million to $116.6 million, depending on the individual model. Figuring at the average list price across the MAX family — but without figuring the discounted prices airline customers buy at — the current MAX backlog is worth nearly $300 billion, which means huge revenues for both Boeing, Spirit, and all the other local suppliers tied into the program.
• Employment — Spirit is Wichita’s largest employer. And while it doesn’t break down employment by program, it’s safe to say that the 737 — already being built at a record rate — is a primary employment driver. With the MAX increasing the backlog and adding to increased production, that means more work and more employees at Spirit and its array of local suppliers.
(Daniel McCoy - Wichita Business Journal)