Home' Asian Aviation : AAV_February 2013 Contents 14 AsianAviation | FEBRUARY 2013
On 30 January, Boeing was expected
to announce business forecasts for
this year -- although its commercial
aircraft business in Seattle will be hard-
pressed to beat, or even to match, the company's
record-breaking performance in 2012.
The division finished last year with its biggest order
backlog ever, booking a net total of 1,203 jetliner
orders during the 12-month period, the second-
largest number in its history. The manufacturer also
delivered 601 aircraft, the most since 1999. As of
1 January, the manufacturer's backlog of unfilled
commercial-aircraft orders stood at 4,373, another
company record (see table).
Boeing had deliberately aimed to win orders for
more than 1,000 aircraft last year as it responded to
the success of Airbus, which had vastly exceeded
that tally the previous year.
In 2011, the US manufacturer booked 921 orders
compared with its competitor's score of 1,608. The
latter huge total was thanks largely to the European
company's decision to launch its re-engined A320
New Engine Option (or 'neo') narrowbody, rather
than investing in all-new single-aisle product
development. Only when Boeing decided -- after
great hesitation -- to follow suit with its 737 MAX,
a re-engined fourth iteration of the well-established
737 aircraft family did the orders begin to roll in.
Consequently, Boeing was playing catch-up in
2012, with gross orders for almost 1,200 737
MAX aircraft booked -- although a little more than 5
percent of those were offset by cancellations or other
changes to yield a net total of 1,124 (a record for any
Boeing model in one year).
That volume notwithstanding, last July's
Farnborough air show did not perhaps produce
as many confirmed orders as Boeing might have
hoped. But after leaving Farnborough, Boeing
Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Ray Conner
had the consolation of returning to Chicago to news
of a United Airlines order for 100 737 MAX aircraft
(which Airbus had been unable to match on price,
after having used the same tactic in 2011 to secure
orders and options from, and let leases to, American
Airlines -- covering 625 A320s).
The new year began with Boeing celebrating
increased manufacturing rates for the 777 and 787. In
January, it rolled out the first 777 to be built at a higher
production rate of 8.3 per month (or 100 units a year,
up in two stages from 60 in 2010) -- the aircraft
being a 777 freighter, scheduled to be delivered in
February to Korean Air. The increased output began
in October, when the first parts arrived at the Everett
factory following almost a year's planning.
In November, Boeing had rolled out the 83rd
787, the first produced at a new five-a-month rate.
Doubling 787 production rate in one year reflected
"the combined efforts of thousands of men and
women across Boeing and at our partners",
according to programme Vice-President and General
Manager Larry Loftis. "The entire team is focused on
meeting commitments. They've applied real ingenuity
in making our processes and tools more efficient."
Earlier in 2012, Boeing had increased monthly 787
output from 2.5 to 3.5 aircraft, with plans to reach ten
per month by late 2013. This has long been Boeing's
projected rate two years into production, although
original plans were based on a single line on which it
expected to assemble a 787 every three days. Now,
the rate accommodates aircraft built on three lines --
two at Everett (including the temporary `surge' line,
introduced last year) and at Boeing South Carolina.
Half of last year's 787 deliveries occurred in the
fourth quarter, illustrating the increase.
Higher production rates for the 777 and 787 will
be an encouragement as Boeing salesmen toil to
build on their impressive 2012 sales figures. As
former Chief Executive Jim Albaugh said (shortly
before his surprise early retirement on the eve of
last July's Farnborough show) about the prospect
of taking orders for more than 1,000 aircraft during
2012: "I think we are going to get there, there's a lot
of demand for big aircraft".
But his words came with a caveat:"It will be easier
this year than next year."
BOEING BREAKS RECORDS
IN RACE TO CATCH AIRBUS
Boeing enjoyed record-breaking sales in 2012, booking gross orders for almost 1,400 commercial aircraft --
of which only 155 were not 737s. Ian Goold reports.
BOEING FOURTH-QUARTER 2012 DELIVERIES
MODEL FOURTH-QUARTER WHOLE YEAR
Boeing had deliberately aimed to win
orders for more than 1,000 aircraft last
year as it responded to the success of
In January, Boeing rolled out the first 777 to
be built at the new, increased production rate.
Links Archive AAV_Dec2012.Jan2013.HighRes.pdf AAV_March_2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page