Boeing Co., the world’s second-biggest planemaker, expects commercial-jet orders to rise this year in dollar terms because of demand for the new 747-8 and other widebody aircraft.
747-8 Intercontinental sales will pick up this year as potential buyers have been waiting to see progress before signing deals, the company’s commercial sales chief, Marlin Dailey, said in an interview in Phoenix yesterday. The 747-8 Intercontinental, the passenger version of Boeing’s biggest ever jumbo jet, is due to fly for the first time this weekend.
“This is the year of the 747,” Dailey said. Demand for the new plane will help widebodies account for 50 percent of orders in dollars this year, up from 20 percent last year, he said. The Chicago-based planemaker is due to begin deliveries of the new 747 in the fall, about a year behind schedule.
Airlines recovered from the recession more quickly than expected, helping Boeing book twice as many as orders in 2010 as it had expected at the beginning of the year, Commercial Airplanes President Jim Albaugh said yesterday. The total number of orders tripled from a year earlier to 530, with a list value of about $49.5 billion, led by a surge in demand for the single-aisle 737.
“This year won’t achieve those numbers, but we’ll do better in terms of dollars,” Dailey said in the interview at a meeting in Arizona of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading.
737s may also account for a smaller percentage of sales because production slots are sold out through about 2016, Albaugh said at the conference. The company is considering boosting production of the plane by 11 percent, to 42 a month, he said. Workers assemble 31.5 a month now at the factory in Renton, Washington, and will be increasing output in two steps to 38 a month by 2013.
Boeing has already won 43 net orders this year for its bestselling 737. Its widebody deals include five 747-8s, which are awaiting government approval from China, seven 767s and 29 777s. Those orders countered the cancellation of 12 787s.