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Boeing still leads in delivery of commercial airliners

Boeing handled 62% of the commercial aviation industry's deliveries in 2001, and 80% of the 2001 orders will be delivered in the next three years, according to Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The company announced early this year that it logged definitive agreements for 335 orders during 2001, noting that 80% of the airplanes comprising those orders will deliver within the next three years. Currently, Boeing airplanes make up roughly 80% of all the commercial airplanes over 100 seats operating in the world.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes ended last year with a confident production outlook for 2002 and 2003 with 99% of its current production slots sold out for 2002 and 70% for 2003. Order-to-delivery timing is particularly important in a cyclical industry.

"Our business plan is to support our customers with their needed airplanes and services through this economic cycle," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He said the company is taking steps to deal with industry realities, including working with customers to deliver the airplanes they need, adjust production rates accordingly and improve Boeing's operational efficiency. Boeing anticipates the downward trend in deliveries will continue for the next few years with deliveries for 2002 of 350-400 airplanes, with less in 2003.

Boeing also is looking at promising opportunities in the worldwide airplane fleet, which has more than 3,000 aircraft still in service that are 20- to 30-years old and candidates for replacement. This includes airplanes such as the Boeing 727, 737-100/200, DC 9, DC 10, 747-100/200/300, and the Airbus A300. Nearly 1,600 of these airplanes are in North America alone, and in Europe there are more than 300. The operational efficiency of today's Boeing airplane models provides airlines with the economic justification and incentive to retire their aging airplanes.

In spite of late-year economic and industry challenges, Commercial Airplanes had several important achievements in 2001, including the announcement of the Sonic Cruiser program in March. Other highlights included the sale of 30 737s to China worth an estimated US$1.6bn, the launch of the 747 Long-Range Freighter, the introduction of the Global Aviation Inventory Network to help airlines manage spare parts, and the initiation of a new Safety and Security Services effort.

After receiving positive comments from customers, Boeing also reaffirmed its commitment to the 717 program. Other notable programs include the 767, which had a tremendous year taking on 51 new orders. The company also celebrated the rollout of the 1,000th Next-Generation 737.

"This was accomplished in less than four years," Mulally said. "No other airplane program has achieved such worldwide success in such a short time. This is the best selling airplane program ever and we are extremely pleased."