Boeing orders plummet

Boeing orders plummet

Boeing says its customers ordered just 142 commercial aircraft last year as the recession forced airlines to shrink, leaving the aerospace company neck and neck with archrival Airbus.

The net total reported yesterday was Boeing’s lowest since at least 2003 and just one-tenth of the 1413 orders in 2007. Boeing delivered 481 commercial planes last year, up 28 per cent after a massive strike in 2008 slowed production.

The biggest seller was Boeing’s workhorse 737. The company delivered 372 of those last year, and has orders for a further 2076.
Boeing’s total backlog for all commercial aircraft is 3375 planes.

The big issue for Boeing has been its 787, a new wide-body long-range jet that flew for the first time last month - more than two years late.

Boeing got through December without any additional 787 cancellations, and finished the year with 83 net cancellations. Both companies however still face the prospect of more cancellations and deferrals from the huge order books built between the boom years of 2005 and 2007.

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Boeing said it had orders for 851 of the planes, and it expected to begin deliveries by the end of this year.The company expects to provide commercial aeroplane delivery guidance for 2010 on January 27, when it reports fourth-quarter results.

“2009 was not without its challenges but it also was a year of exciting achievements for our company and our industry,” said Jim Albaugh, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive officer. “With signs of economic recovery emerging in 2010, we look forward to better days ahead.”

Competitor Airbus will report its 2009 orders and deliveries on Tuesday. Through to the end of November it had 194 net orders and 437 deliveries. That included four of its new A380 superjumbo jets and 22 of its wide-body A350s.