Boeing is preparing to announce a reduction in the 787’s production rate to less than 10 aircraft per month, Bloomberg said. The plan also involves eliminating an undisclosed number of employees.
Currently the 787 Dreamliner is the most produced jet by the US manufacturer and has two assembly lines, in Renton and South Carolina. Each of these plants is responsible for assembling 7 aircraft per month, but the rate would already be reduced to 12 planes by the end of this year and for only 10 units in 2021.
According to Bloomberg, the coronavirus crisis has further reduced demand and now Boeing can cut the production ratio to 8 or 6 planes. Like Airbus, the US planemaker had also detected a downward movement in orders for widebodies, partly caused by the trade war with China, one of the main markets for these jets.
But the prospects for a sharp drop in demand for passenger flights due to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic may make this scenario even worse.
Until March, Boeing had a backlog of 542 units of the 787, most of them in the intermediate variant, 787-9. The company is close to reaching the symbolic milestone of 1,000 Dreamliners delivered, which should occur in mid-2020.
The decisions made in Chicago, the company’s headquarters, involve several aspects, including keeping one of the assembly lines open. At the same time, the manufacturer is experiencing difficulties with two other models, the 777X, which resumed its late certification program, and above all with the 737 Max, the company’s most popular jet, which loses orders quickly while not allowed to fly again. Compared to them, Dreamliner becomes a small problem.