Oct. 23--Boeing Co. today said it will boost production of its 787 Dreamliner by 20 percent within the next three years and by 40 percent by 2020 as two longer versions of the jet join the lineup.
The company assembles its newest commercial airplane in North Charleston and Everett, Wash.
The projected jump in production would put extra demands on one or both sites, and it likely would require more workers.
Its previous goal had been to roll out 10 Dreamliner a month by the end of this year. The company announced today it is ramping that up to "12 per month in 2016, with plans to increase to 14 per month before the end of the decade," citing "continued strong demand for the 787 family of airplanes."
The original version of the Dreamliner is the 787-8. Boeing delivered 40 of those planes in the first nine months, including several from North Charleston, where the company employs more than 6,000 workers. Boeing this year committed to investing another $1.1 billion in its Lowcountry campus and adding 2,000 more jobs.
Two other versions of the Dreamliner are on the horizons. In the last quarter, Boeing completed the first test flight of the extended 787-9 over Washington state. It also has launched a program to sell the even longer 787-10.
Boeing announced the new production schedule while reporting quarterly earnings that exceeded Wall Street estimates.
Profits from the commercial planes business rose 40 percent, offsetting a 19 percent profit drop in the defense division tied to a decline in deliveries of military aircraft.
Boeing earned $1.16 billion, or $1.51 per share, for the quarter. That was up from about $1 billion, or $1.35 per share, a year earlier. Not counting pension expenses, Boeing would have earned $1.80 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting $1.55 per share.
Revenue rose 11 percent to $22.13 billion, above analyst expectations.
Boeing expects to deliver 635 to 645 passenger airplanes this year, assuming 60 deliveries of the 787.
Deliveries of the planes were on hold earlier this year when the fleet of 787s was grounded by global aviation authorities because of problems with the plane's batteries. Deliveries resumed in May.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 - The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.
CEO says 787 troubles under control
Production cost overruns, penalty payments will offset near-term financial gains
Tax benefits and strong operating results aid Boeing