Boeing Boosts Airliner Production

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Boeing is building airliners as fast as it can and the result is a modest increase in the number it was able to deliver in the last quarter of 2013. The company cranked out 172 of its 737s, 777s and 787s in those three months, up from 165 the previous quarter thanks to increased production rates on all three lines. The increased demand for airliners and a growing order book will partly offset the decline in its military business and its quarterly report is anticipated to be generally positive on Wednesday. Boeing's own assessment of the performance of its flagship 787 isn't so rosy, however.

Earlier this week Mike Fleming, vice president for 787 support and services, said the Dreamliner's dispatch rate is about 98 percent, up from 97 percent in October. "I'll tell you that's not where we want the airplane to be, we're not satisfied with that reliability level of the airplane," Fleming said. By comparison, the 777 is ready to fly on 99.4 out of 100 flights. It's now building 787s at the rate of 10 a month.