MIAMI — 2016 is set to become a special year for Boeing as it enters its 100th year, and consolidates its position as one of the world’s leading aerospace companies after delivering a record 762 planes last year.
The figure represents a 5.4% increase compared to 2014 when delivered 723 aircraft. Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said “We had a solid year of orders in 2015, maintaining a strong, balanced backlog that will help ensure a steady stream of deliveries for years to come.”
According to the company 768 net orders were recorded in 2015, valued at $112.4 billion at current list prices, and holds 5,795 unfilled orders equivalent to over seven and a half years of production at the current rates.
In the last five years, Boeing has ramped up the production of its aircraft, particularly the 737 family aircraft, which represents over 75% of the current unfilled orders. In 2015, the company delivered 495 737s, slightly below the proposed targeted rate of 42 aircraft per month.
On the other hand, the 747-8 orders have been slow as airlines have looked towards twin-engined aircraft to replace larger less-fuel efficient aircraft. Boeing has opted to cut the production rate from 1.5 aircraft per month to 1.3, and from March 2016, the production rate will be adjusted again to just one aircraft per month, in a move to sustain the program until the ongoing recovery in the air cargo materializes and a potential demand for new freighters may favor the placement of new orders.
Despite the record delivery numbers, new orders fell by half in 2015 to 768 aircraft from 1,432 in 2014. Airlines, especially those from fast-growing markets such as Southeast Asia, China and the Middle East, were on a spending spree in the recent years, but new orders began to dwindle after 2014.
“Global passenger traffic in most key regions is increasing,” said Randy Tinseth, Vice President, Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Our customers continue to perform well in the marketplace and we’ll continue to support them with the industry’s best products and services.”
Boeing’s competitor Airbus is set to reveal its numbers on Tuesday. As of November 30, Airbus 2015 net orders stood at 1,007 aircraft, beating Boeing’s record year. However, analysts believe that Airbus delivery numbers will stay behind from those of Boeing, standing at 635 aircraft.