RENTON, Wash. (AP) -- Boeing Co. said Tuesday that it hit its target of producing 35 of its 737-model aircraft in a month and is preparing to further speed up the assembly line in the next two years.
The company had been producing 31.5 of the planes per month, said spokeswoman Kristi Moen.
Boeing said the first plane built at the new rate rolled out of the factory in Renton, Wash., on Tuesday. It was ordered by AWAS Aviation Services Inc., which plans to lease the jet to Norwegian Air Shuttle.
Boeing expects to raise production of the 737 NG, or "next generation" version of its most popular plane, to 38 per month in the second quarter of 2013 and 42 in the first half of 2014.
The aircraft maker has promised airlines a new, more fuel-efficient model of the 737 in the next few years. Both 737 types will be built at the Renton factory. Rival Airbus is working on an upgraded version of its mid-size plane, to be called the A320neo.
Airlines have demanded more efficient planes as oil and jet fuel prices have risen in recent years.
Boeing shares rose 47 cents to close at $75.