Boeing Q3 Deliveries Slip but Rise Year Over Year

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After all the words spilled over late parts deliveries and “gliders” (new airplanes missing their engines) parked on every available square inch of tarmac in both Washington and South Carolina, it’s no particular surprise that Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) delivered slightly fewer planes in the third quarter than it delivered in the second quarter.

Boeing delivered 190 new commercial jets in the third quarter of 2018, compared with 194 in the second quarter and 202 in the third quarter of last year.

The surprise comes in the year-to-date totals. In the first nine months of 2018, Boeing has delivered 568 commercial jets, compared to a nine-month total of 554 in 2017.

Boeing delivered 763 commercial jets in 2017 and in January forecast deliveries of 810 to 815 for 2018, an increase of nearly 7% for the year. In order for Boeing to reach the low end of that projection, the company must deliver 242 new commercial jets in the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the company delivered 209 new planes.

Here are Boeing’s reported totals for the third quarter and the full year by aircraft family:

  • 737 family: 138; 407
  • 747 family: 2; 5
  • 767 family: 4; 13
  • 777 family: 12; 37
  • 787 family: 34; 106

If the company’s supply chain issues have finally sorted themselves out, Boeing could fairly routinely raise its 737 annual deliveries to around 540 and its 787 deliveries to around 142. Production of the 767, which is the base upon which the company builds its KC-46A Air Force refueling tanker, could also rise as demand for the 767 as a freighter continues to rise.

Rising fuel prices could boost new orders if carriers are concerned that fuel prices are on track to remain high, but that won’t help meet delivery projections. The only thing that will do that is speeding up the production lines and that’s difficult (but not impossible) to do.

For the first nine months of 2018, Boeing has booked 631 net new orders, of which 448 (71%) are orders for the single-aisle 737.

Boeing shares traded barely higher at noon on Tuesday, at $386.24 in a 52-week range of $254.50 to $394.28. The stock’s 12-month price target is $412.57. Boeing is scheduled to report third-quarter results on October 24.

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