By Alwyn Scott and Tim Hepher
Jan 6 Boeing remained the world largest plane
maker in 2013, but industry sources said it lost the race to log
new orders to rival Airbus.
Boeing Co said on Monday that it delivered a record
648 jetliners in 2013, topping Airbus for the second
year in a row and beating 2012 deliveries by 7.8 percent.
Airbus topped Boeing in new orders, however, according to
two industry sources. Boeing said jetliner gross orders totaled
1,531 in 2013, a record, and net orders reached 1,355.
Airbus sales exceeded both of those numbers, the sources
said on condition of anonymity, without giving further details.
Based on announcements of 98 orders since the end of
November, Airbus has booked at least 1,471 gross orders and
1,412 net orders. The European planemaker typically unveils new
orders with its final figures for the year, due Jan. 13.
Investors keep close tabs on deliveries, since plane makers
book the bulk of the revenue from airplane sales when the
aircraft are handed over to customers.
But orders have had a growing impact on share prices in the
past two years, as the world's dominant plane makers fought for
sales of new fuel-efficient models. Plane orders also can
produce large swings in company cash balances, because airlines
make down payments when orders are placed.
Boeing's delivery tally topped its forecast of up to 645
jets for the year and was up from 601 last year. The tally also
exceeded deliveries by rival Airbus, one of the sources
Airbus delivered more than 625 aircraft in 2013, beating its
target of up to 620 but lagging Boeing's total of 648
deliveries, the source said.
Boeing said it delivered 440 of its 737 single-aisle planes,
98 of its 777 widebody planes and 65 of its carbon-composite 787
Dreamliners, which are now in use with 16 customers.
The Chicago-based aerospace and defense company also
delivered 24 of its 747 jumbo jets, and 21 of its 767 jets.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Ray Conner
praised "solid execution" as factories increased production
rates last year.
"We delivered more advanced, fuel-efficient airplanes to our
customers than ever before, and it's a great example of what our
team can accomplish," he said in a statement.
Boeing's shares were up 0.92 percent at $138.89 in afternoon
trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Boeing's production lead is likely to grow this year. The
company plans to increase output of its top-selling 737 model to
42 a month in 2014 and to 47 a month by 2017. It makes 38 a
month currently. Airbus, by contrast, has not announced plans to
increase output of its rival A320 jet.
Boeing also said it would lift production of its 787
Dreamliner wide-body jet to 12 a month by 2016 and 14 a month by
2020, up from a target of 10 a month by the end of 2013.
However, orders are likely to slow, even as deliveries rise,
said Peter Arment, an analyst at brokerage Sterne Agee.
"With delivery slots filling up, even at these elevated
production rates, by nature we're going to see some tapering of
the order book activity," Arment said.
Boeing and Airbus will focus on "leveraging and execution
off these large backlogs" of orders, converting them to planes -
While some investors fear rising production will create an
oversupply of aircraft, Arment said that's not a big worry.
"We still have some aging aircraft fleets in Asia and Europe
that need to be replaced," he said, and that should prevent a
Boeing also delivered 171 military aircraft and satellites,
up 11 percent from 154 in 2012. Boeing in October said it will
close its C-17 military transport plane production, which is
producing a steady 10 planes a year, due to lack of orders.
The order book for fighters also is tapering, and analysts
say this could force closure of those production lines later
this decade unless Boeing lands new orders.