Boeing 787 Production Target on Track, Supplier Says

Boeing Co. is on track to reach its goal of manufacturing 10 of its 787 Dreamliner jets per month by the year’s end and is studying a production-rate increase, said Rockwell Collins Inc., a supplier for the jet.

The composite plane’s assembly lines and global supply-chain aren’t showing any effects from the Dreamliner’s three-month grounding this year after lithium-ion batteries melted down in two 787s’ power systems, said Clay Jones, chief executive officer of the supplier.

Rockwell Collins, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, supplies the Dreamliner’s cockpit displays, pilot control system and flight computer systems. Boeing kept its factories running through the grounding period and Rockwell Collins’s financial performance wasn’t hurt, Jones said in a phone interview today. The Chicago-based planemaker is considering increasing its rate of output of 787s, Jones also said.

“If Boeing chooses to expand its production rate beyond 10 a month, that’s obviously a big opportunity and it presents no material problem for us,” Jones said.

Boeing delivered only 17 Dreamliners in the first half of 2013, 16 of them after regulators cleared the jet to fly again in April.

Marc Birtel, a spokesman for Boeing, confirmed its production target is unchanged in a phone interview.

Boeing will need a faster rate to fill more than 930 Dreamliner orders and make room for delivery of a stretched version of the jet by 2020. The pace of production of the 787 will hit 14 a month by 2015, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The additional planes would boost annual revenue for Boeing by $6.7 billion, based on a Bloomberg Industries estimate.

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