Boeing 737

Associated Press

Boeing has begun work on the first of the 737s that will roll out of the Renton factory at a rate of 38 per month.

The company gave reporters and photographers a look at the line Tuesday as production increases from 35 planes a month.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes

It's another milestone for Boeing. The 7,370th 737 has rolled off the Everett assembly line and is being delivered to Indonesia-based Lion Air.

The plane is Lion Air's 75th Next Generation 737.

The Boeing 737 is the world's best-selling commercial jetliner. Since 1965, airlines have placed orders for more than 10,100 of the twin engine, single aisle planes.

Boeing machinist union members said 'Yes' by 74 percent to a new four-year contract – hammered out in secret – that will bring jobs to build the newest version of Boeing's 737 to Renton.

The yes vote begins a new era for the aerospace company and its most contentious union, ushered in also by the union's promise to drop a complaint it filed with the National Labor Relations Board. That complaint has been the subject of Congressional hearings and hundreds of news stories around the world.

Boeing Media image

More than 30,000 Boeing Machinists are studying a proposal that would spell labor peace for the next four years if it’s approved. But  some union members are concerned about aspects of the deal.

Lingering questions

One of the top concerns among union members has to do with how solid Boeing’s commitment to Renton really is. Property near the factory where the 737 is built has been sold off over the years.

AP

Boeing’s CEO says it was likely sloppy work, not a design flaw, that resulted in a hole in a Southwest Airlines jet. On April 1st, a Boeing 737 developed a 5-foot tear in the roof while in flight.

AP

Federal officials have issued an emergency order requiring inspections of Boeing planes with similar construction to the Southwest Airlines plane that had a 5-foot tear that led to an emergency landing last week.

The Federal Aviation Administration order Tuesday applies to Boeing 737-300s, 400s and 500s that have a similarly constructed joint where pieces of the plane's skin meet. The joint is at about the midpoint of the passenger cabin.

AP

Boeing says it’s providing technical assistance to federal aviation regulators and to Southwest Airlines in the wake of Friday’s mid-flight incident where a hole appeared in the skin of a 737 airliner at 34,000 feet.

The Seattle Times reports that the sudden rupture has experts concerned because the stress-related failure of the aircraft’s aluminum skin occurred mid-fuselage. That's a place that was not previously thought to be vulnerable to that kind of damage.