Boeing Co’s aircraft orders last year fell by nearly half, even as deliveries rose to an annual record, the aerospace giant said on Thursday.
Boeing said that net orders for new commercial aircraft dropped to 768 last year from 1,432 in 2014, putting it behind rival Airbus SAS, which is expected to report more than 1,000 orders for last year.
However, encouraged by continued healthy passenger growth in the airline industry and sharply lower fuel prices, Boeing was able to step up production and increase commercial aircraft deliveries to 762, slightly above its own forecasts and bettering the previous record of 723 deliveries in 2014.
In deliveries, Boeing was expected to best Airbus, which appeared on track to turn over about 635 aircraft to customers for the whole of last year, up just six from a year earlier. The European company is slated to publish its figures on Tuesday.
Boeing has forecast last year revenue for its commercial airplanes division in the US$65 billion to US$66 billion range, up from US$60 billion in 2014.
“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,” Boeing commercial airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner said.
Boeing on Thursday highlighted its delivery record as a metric for performance that represents firm, paid-for orders.
Deliveries have taken on more importance, because both Boeing and Airbus have large order backlogs that have raised questions about their capacity to keep to their respective production calendars.
On Dec. 31 last year, Boeing’s backlog of orders stood at 5,795, representing more than seven-and-a-half years of production at the current rate.
Both manufacturers have boosted the pace of production of their medium and long-range aircraft to keep up with demand.
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