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777 May Offset Production Decline Production Of Boeing’s 737, 757 Models Will Drop Next Year

The Boeing Co. on Friday said fewer 737 and 757 jetliners will be built next year, but more 777s will be delivered.

Production of 737s, the world’s best-selling commercial jet, is currently at eight-and-a-half per month. That will drop to seven per month in December and five in April 1996.

The 757 production rate, which dropped from five planes per month to four in January, will go down to three per month in June 1996.

The 767 currently has four planes rolling off the assembly line each month, and that will drop to three-and-a-half in December and remain there through 1996, as previously announced, Boeing said.

The production rate for 747 jumbo jets, as previously announced, will rise from two to three per month in the third quarter of 1996.

Boeing also said it expects to deliver 30 of its new 777 widebody jets in 1996, compared with 19 this year, with production rising from three per month in 1996 to four per month in 1997. The number of deliveries next year will be lower than production, because a number of the planes will be in flight testing, Boeing spokesman Russ Young said.

Overall, Boeing said it will deliver about 230 planes to airlines this year, compared with about 200 next year.

The production figures reflect the bottoming of a slump in new-airplane orders from airlines over the last several years. Orders have picked up dramatically this year, with Boeing receiving orders for 147 planes in the first half of 1995, compared with 120 for all of 1994.

The latest production-rate figures are not expected to cause any major change in Boeing’s employment forecasts, the company said.

Boeing has said it anticipates cutting about 12,000 jobs this year - many through the company’s first-ever early retirement incentive program. At the end of May, Boeing had about 113,000 employees worldwide, including 78,000 in Washington state.

Employment peaked at 165,787 in 1989. The company has been waging an efficiency program with the aim of reducing the effects of severe employment fluctuations.

Boeing’s next employment forecast is due in early 1996.

Bill Whitlow, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, said Friday’s news is slightly negative, in terms of sales and profits for the coming year, but Boeing prospects for 1997 and 1998 remain upbeat.

“This is just a little fine-tuning based on trends in orders,” Whitlow said.

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