Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) has announced in its quarterly earnings release that it will further reduce the production rate of most of its commercial aircraft families in response to ongoing weak demand for new aircraft.

The American manufacturer said that the B737 MAX aircraft, which restarted production at a very low rate in May 2020 following a five-month gap caused by the type's global grounding, will continue to slowly ramp up to 31 units per month by the beginning of 2022. Boeing had previously hoped to reach thirty-one B737s per month during 2021. Future decisions about the production rate will be based on corresponding demand.

"The B787 production rate will be reduced to six per month in 2021. The B777/777X combined production rate will be gradually reduced to two per month in 2021, with B777X first delivery targeted for 2022. At this time, production rate assumptions have not changed on the B767 and B747 programs," Boeing said.

At the beginning of 2020, Boeing produced fourteen B787s per month. In late April, the manufacturer reduced that figure to 10 per month in 2020, dropping even further to just seven per month in 2022. The B777/B777X programme was reduced from five per month in early 2020 to three per month in 2021.

Boeing previously hoped to deliver the first B777-9 in 2021, a year behind the original schedule. The type is currently undergoing certification.

Besides reducing the B787's production rate, Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said Boeing would study the possibility of consolidating the family's production at one location. Currently, the B787s are assembled at Boeing's facilities in Everett and Charleston, SC.

Boeing currently produces 0.5 B747s per month and three B767s per month. The latter is largely due to the military tanker programme.

In the staff letter, Calhoun also confirmed previous media reports that Boeing would indeed close its iconic B747 programme in 2022.