What Matters About Boeing Q1 Deliveries

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Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) announced on Thursday that it had delivered a total of 176 commercial jets in the first quarter of 2016, down 4.3% compared with the same period last year. This year’s total includes 121 737s, 23 777s and 30 787 Dreamliners.

Combined deliveries of 737s, 777s and 787s total just one fewer than the 2015 first-quarter total. Boeing delivered just one 747 and one 767 in the first quarter of this year, compared with four 747s and five 767s in the 2015 first quarter.

That Boeing has delivered exactly the same number of 737s and 787s as it did a year ago is both good news and bad news. The production rate on the 737s is a nominal 42 per month, a total that Boeing has not reached in the first quarter of either 2015 or 2016. The production rate of 10 per month on the 787s has also been maintained.

Production of the 787 is set to be increased to 12 per month later this year, and Boeing has announced a 737 production increase to 47 next year, a further increase to 52 per month in 2018 and a jump to 57 planes per month in 2019.

As of the end of March, Boeing has taken a total of 51 orders for the 787-8 and delivered 39 of the planes. Orders for the 787-9 total 551, of which 98 have been delivered.

Of the 30 Dreamliners Boeing delivered in the first quarter, 24 were 787-9s, another bit of good news for the company because the list price on the 787-9 is $264.6 million, some $40 million more than the list price on a 787-8.

Late last month Boeing announced that it will cut about 4,000 jobs in its commercial jet division this year through attrition and voluntary buyouts, but the total could run as high as 8,000. The company is trying to rein in costs and also has put the squeeze on its suppliers to reduce prices to Boeing.

Even though Boeing continues to sell its single-aisle 737s at a robust clip, it trails archrival Airbus in both orders and deliveries of the narrow-body jets. Scott Hamilton at Leeham News has said that the Airbus A320neo has put Boeing in second place (in a two-horse race) for the next decade.

The worse news is that the Boeing was slow to get started on the remodeling of the 777, and Airbus is competing more successfully in the dual-aisle category with its A330 and A350. That’s a race that Boeing could ill-afford to lose.

Boeing stock traded at $127.90 on Wednesday afternoon, essentially flat for the day, in a 52-week range of $102.10 to $155.50.