The sky too often laden with gray clouds in Seattle (USA) over the past three years is clearing and Boeing wants it to be known. For the first time since the 737 Max crisis in March 2019, the American aircraft manufacturer opened the doors of its Renton and Everett production sites to the international press in mid-June. An initiative that owes nothing to chance. It preceded by just a few days the good news announced on Monday, June 20, by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on the occasion of its general assembly, which provides for a return of profits “on the horizon in 2023” for air transport. And Boeing wants to take its full share.
In Renton, in the suburbs of Seattle, the historic Boeing factory where the famous B29 bombers were assembled and which is celebrating its 80th anniversary, people are busy around the 737 Max. After the two-year Covid outage, the site became a hive again. But it is far from running at full speed and only three out of five assembly lines have been restarted. “We are looking for thousands of collaborators for all trades”, recognizes a frame from the aircraft manufacturer. It must be said that during the crisis, Boeing cut a lot in its workforce and laid off more than 16,000 employees. Now he wants to recruit nearly 30,000 to meet the demand for aircraft.
For the time being, the American still has modest ambitions. Its next goal for the end of 2023 is to release forty-seven 737 Max aircraft each month. It is still a long way off. “We are not yet at thirty-one 737 Max per month”, recognizes a spokesperson for the aircraft manufacturer. Several cables behind Airbus, which releases fifty-four A320s every month and plans to increase to sixty copies of its medium-haul star in the course of 2023.
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Held back by its labor needs, Boeing is also struggling with many of its suppliers and subcontractors who have still not returned to their pre-pandemic levels of activity. In addition to its somewhat sluggish ramp-up, the Seattle aircraft manufacturer must also, at the same time, manage the destocking of nearly three hundred 737 Max aircraft which have been gathering dust for more than two years in huge parking lots while waiting to be be delivered to their client companies.
Launched in pursuit of rival Airbus, Boeing is waiting with its fingers crossed very tightly for the certification of the 737 Max 10, the largest version of its medium-haul range. The only one able to compete even slightly with the A321, the new best-seller from Airbus, certain versions of which, which offer the costs of a medium-haul and the performance of a long-haul, are a hit with low-cost airlines. The stakes are high for the manufacturer, who must absolutely obtain the green light from the regulatory authorities before the end of 2022. Failure to do so, he would be exposed to significant additional costs that would be all the more difficult to bear. that Boeing has just had three annual financial years ended in bright red.
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