Boeing delivers record 648 commercial aircraft in 2013

NEW YORK (AFP) - Boeing said Monday it ended 2013 setting company records for deliveries and unfilled orders for commercial aircraft as it ramps up production to meet demand.

Boeing said it delivered 648 commercial airplanes last year, an increase of 7.8 per cent from 2012. Its backlog of orders stood at 5,080, a new high in the Chicago-based company's history.

After booking a record 1,531 gross commercial orders, Boeing ended the year with 1,355 net commercial orders, the second-largest in its history.

"With solid execution on our numerous production rate increases, the Boeing team performed extremely well in 2013," Ray Conner, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive, said in a statement.

"We delivered more advanced, fuel-efficient airplanes to our customers than ever before."

In the fourth quarter alone, Boeing delivered 172 commercial aircraft.

According to Boeing, three programs set records for deliveries in a single year. The company delivered 440 of the latest model of its popular 737 medium-haul jetliner, the Next-Generation 737. Customers also received 98 long-haul 777s and 65 new 787 Dreamliners.

During the year Boeing launched two new airplane programs in the twin-aisle market: the 777X and the 787-10 Dreamliner, a larger version of the cutting-edge plane.

The company said its higher rates of production yielded a record number of airplanes delivered from its main production site in Everett, Washington state, and sites in Renton, Washington, and North Charleston, South Carolina.

The company's banner-year report came days after a key Boeing labor union narrowly approved an eight-year contract that keeps production of the 777X in Washington state in exchange for cuts in benefits.

As a result of the union vote Friday, Boeing will end its search for alternate production sites for the more fuel-efficient version of its best-selling widebody jet.

Shares in Dow member Boeing were up 0.5 per cent in midday trade Monday. The aerospace company was the biggest gainer on the blue-chip index in 2013, ending the year up a solid 80.6 per cent.

Boeing plans to publish its 2013 fourth-quarter financial results on January 29.

Boeing's arch-rival, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, has not yet announced its 2013 aircraft report.

In mid-October, Airbus chief Fabrice Bregiere said the company will deliver more than 600 aircraft in 2013.

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