Boeing reduces 737 production rate
Still from a company video released April 4, 2019, of Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg

Boeing reduces 737 production rate

Reduction from 52 to 42 per month to start mid-April; maintains production team employment levels.

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In a statement issued April 5, 2019, Boeing Co. Chairman, President & CEO Dennis Muilenburg announced a temporary production rate reduction as the company addresses software issues with the Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner that appear to have contributed to crashes of two of the planes within five months.

“We’re adjusting the 737 production system temporarily to accommodate the pause in MAX deliveries, allowing us to prioritize additional resources to focus on software certification and returning the MAX to flight. We have decided to temporarily move from a production rate of 52 airplanes per month to 42 airplanes per month starting in mid-April.

“At a production rate of 42 airplanes per month, the 737 program and related production teams will maintain their current employment levels while we continue to invest in the broader health and quality of our production system and supply chain.

“We are coordinating closely with our customers as we work through plans to mitigate the impact of this adjustment. We will also work directly with our suppliers on their production plans to minimize operational disruption and financial impact of the production rate change.”

Muilenburg stated, “We now know that the recent Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents were caused by a chain of events, with a common chain link being erroneous activation of the aircraft's MCAS function. We have the responsibility to eliminate this risk, and we know how to do it.”

Muilenburg announced progress on the 737 MAX software update to prevent accidents like these, including testing and reviewing the software and engaging regulators and customers worldwide while proceeding toward certification.

The company also is finalizing new pilot training courses and supplementary educational material for its global MAX customers.

Muilenburg asked the Boeing Board of Directors to establish a committee to review company-wide policies and processes for the design and development of the airplanes it builds. The committee will confirm the effectiveness of policies and processes for assuring the highest level of safety on the 737-MAX program, as well as Boeing’s other airplane programs, and recommend improvements to company policies and procedures.

One day earlier, Boeing posted a video of Muilenburg addressing the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 preliminary accident report, saying in part, “We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX accidents.”