Boeing has informed employees that the 777 production rate will be reduced from seven per month to five per month in August 2017, meaning the program’s production rate will be cut twice in 2017.
The manufacturer had previously decided to lower 777 production from the current rate of 8.3 aircraft per month to seven monthly starting in January 2017. But 777 program VP and GM Elizabeth Lund said in a Dec. 12 message to employees that “despite tireless work by the sales team,  orders have slowed.” Citing “near-term hesitation” by airlines in some markets to order 777s, Lund said Boeing “must adjust accordingly to ensure we are running a healthy business and the production line remains stable.”
The order from Iran Air for 15 777-300ERs and 15 777Xs, firmed Dec 11, “is good news” for Boeing, but it had already been factored into the 777 production rate assessment, Lund said.
The rate cut will mean a reduction in employees, Lund said, adding, “While the exact number of affected positions has not been determined, we will do our best to lessen the impact.”
Lund emphasized that the 777 remains a “flagship” aircraft for many “elite carriers.”
Boeing plans to build the first 777X next year, and with the C variant of the 777 set to enter service in 2020, the manufacturer remains confident in the program’s long-term future. But the production bridge to the 777X now appears more tenuous than previously anticipated.