Boeing gets record 1,002 net commercial airplane orders in 2005 |

Boeing gets record 1,002 net commercial airplane orders in 2005

SEATTLE – Boeing Co. said Thursday it set a new company record for commercial airplane orders in 2005, while also more than tripling the number of jet orders from the previous year.The Chicago aerospace company it had received 1,002 net airplane orders during 2005. That beats the company’s previous record set in 1988, when Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, which have since merged, booked 877 net orders.In 2004, Boeing had 272 net commercial airplane orders.The net order number represents the total passenger and freighter planes the company has sold minus any canceled or converted orders. Boeing, which assembles most of its commercial jets in the Seattle area, booked 1,029 gross orders in 2005.The milestone marks a significant turnaround for Boeing, which had been losing ground to European rival Airbus SAS.”I don’t think anybody in their wildest dreams at the beginning of the year thought they would do this well,” aviation analyst Scott Hamilton with Leeham Co. LLC said Thursday.But as the year went on, Hamilton said rising fuel prices prompted more airlines to sign on for Boeing’s newer, fuel-efficient offerings, including the widebody 777 and the new 787, due to enter service in 2008.Meanwhile, Hamilton said Airbus had less success in part because the company lagged Boeing in offering its A350, which will compete directly with the 787 and is scheduled to enter service in 2010.Airbus said Thursday it had booked 687 firm jet orders through November and expects to release a full tally for the year on Jan. 17.Hamilton said he expected 2006 to offer a more accurate barometer of the head-to-head competition between the A350 and the 787. Overall, he’s expecting fewer orders this year than last, in part because many U.S. carriers are still suffering amid high fuel prices and changing business models.Boeing had booked 870 net jetliner orders as of Dec. 20. Since then, the company said it had won orders for 10 737s from Germany’s DBA, which had said in November it would buy 40 737s as part of a fleet expansion.The company also announced new orders for two 737s from Turkmenistan Airlines; eight 787s from Low-Cost Aircraft Leasing and two 787s from Continental Airlines Inc. WestJet Airlines Ltd. also exercised previously announced options for four 737s.The company also finalized previously announced commitments for 68 737s, 777s and 787s from Air India; 20 737s from China Southern Airlines; six 737s from Hainan Airlines; 5 737s from Shanghai Airlines; four 737s for China Eastern Airlines and five 737s for Shenzhen Airlines.Overall, Boeing said it received 569 orders for its 737 model, 154 orders for the 777, and 235 orders for the 787 in 2005. Those figures exceeded previous records of 438, 116 and 56, respectively.The company also cited strong performances by its 747 and 767 programs, with 43 and 15 net new orders, respectively.Not all the news was good for Boeing. Also Thursday, Banc of America analysts downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “buy,” saying it is likely to stagnate after a strong run last year.Boeing shares fell $1.08, or 1.5 percent, to $70.09 afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares reached an all-time high of $72.40 on Dec. 27, amid early reports that the company would enjoy a strong year for airplane orders.Vail, Colorado

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