Boeing (BOE, Washington National) is busy "stabilising" its current published B737 MAX production rate and aims to have a steady output of the aircraft by the second half of 2024, Chief Financial Officer Brian West said at the Cowen Aerospace & Defense Conference.

"Right now we have a 38-per-month cycle that the supply chain is cycling to. [Boeing's] first half output will be lower than that because we have to acknowledge that we have lots of things to focus on in terms of keeping the airplanes in position longer so that we can incorporate all the learnings that we're finding," he said.

He clarified that in order to facilitate the ongoing quality audit, Boeing has had to "do things like pause the line", thereby slowing its output. He, however, refused to give a precise number for the current production rate.

The comments came just days after a fellow executive, Senior Vice-President of Global Supply Chain and Fabrication Ihssane Mounir, told a supplier conference to "bear with us" as the manufacturer moves towards its previously announced plans to increase the output to forty-two B737 MAX per month in February 2024.

"Let us get through this process with the FAA, the audit process, and see what the findings are and how we mitigate those findings, and what it's going to take to get back to the production rates as we forecasted them before," Mounir said.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said after the mid-air door blowout on a Alaska Airlines' B737-9 that it would not approve any production rate increases until persistent quality issues have been addressed. While the regulator technically cannot enforce production rate caps, it can simply limit the number of issued aircraft airworthiness certificates to 38 per month.

In any case, multiple sources report that Boeing is currently well below the published rate of 38 aircraft per month. Leeham News and Analysis said, based on first-flight data, Boeing has struggled to meet even the previous rate of 31 aircraft per month in 2023, despite Chief Executive Dave Calhoun explicitly saying the manufacturer was producing the B737 MAX at a 38 per month rate during an annual investor call in late January 2024.