Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the operating division of Boeing Co. that produces passenger and service craft, reports that its sold 462 jets during 2010, over three times as many it did in 2009, helping it to beat its target of 460. The group added that it received 530 new orders for commercial aircraft over the past 12 months, and is operating from a base of 3,443 orders in progress.
The aircraft builder attributed the strong report on air carriers’ strategies efforts to stage their own recoveries from the global recession that started in 2008. The annual data varies slightly from Boeing’s 2010 North America Market Outlook, released late last summer, in which it predicted only nominal increases in North American commercial airline traffic but that replacing the aging commercial jet fleet will drive the regional market to a value of $700 billion over the next 20 years.
In that report, Boeing stated that new airplane deliveries in Canada and the U.S. will be paced in large part by commercial airlines’ need to retire older, less fuel-efficient single-aisle airplanes and regional jets.
Along with rival Airbus SAS, Boeing is increasing production rates in response to airlines demand for more fuel-efficient craft, however. Airbus 2010 production data are not yet available, but Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh indicated that it would be in 2011 that his company would regain the production title it has not held since 2008.
During 2011, Boeing is expected finally to introduce its 787 Dreamliner, the new much-delayed wide-body twin-engine aircraft with long-range capability and fuel efficiency, and carrying capacity for 210 to 330 passengers. The first deliveries are nearly three years past due as a result of various production and testing problems.
Boeing resumed Dreamliner test flights in December, having suspended the test flights in November following an in-flight electrical fire that investigators concluded involved the power-distribution system on the new airliner.
Boeing reportedly has 850 orders from airliners for the 787, and the first deliveries remain on schedule for the first quarter of 2011.
However, during 2010 it was Boeing’s single-aisle 737 (486 new orders, 376 deliveries) that led the way, with strong showings from the 777 (46 orders, 74 deliveries) and 767 (3 new orders, 12 deliveries).
"With 376 deliveries in 2010, the Next-Generation 737 set a company delivery record for the second consecutive year," Albaugh stated. "The 737 is the industry's most in-demand airplane with 486 net orders as carriers continue to rely on its superior economics, versatility and continuous performance enhancements."