Boeing says 747-8 still on track for 2011

NEW YORK Fri May 6, 2011 3:11pm EDT

NEW YORK May 6 (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N), which is ramping up production of its 747-8 airplane, denied a news report that it is freezing production for a month and delaying delivery.

"Production is not frozen. We are continuing to work on all airplanes, in all phases of production," said spokesman Jim Proulx. "Our guidance for 2011 deliveries remains unchanged."

A report in Aviation Week said a temporary freeze is widely expected to push delivery of the 747-8 passenger plane into early 2012

Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager of the 747-8 program, in a staff letter on Thursday said the company was gearing up for a 33 percent production rate increase.

To address some challenges, she said, Boeing will "complete some unfinished work, incorporate design changes driven by discoveries in flight test and make sure we have a healthy production line as we move up in rate next year."

The airplanes will remain in the current places on the production line for that work until June 7.

"This action is not going to change the 2011 deliveries guidance, nor is it going to change the first deliveries of either one of the submodels of this airplane," said Proulx. (Reporting by Lynn Adler, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)