December 23, 2012 in Business

Boeing gets 50 orders; delivers 6 Dreamliners

Dominic Gates Seattle Times
 
Associated Press photo

Boeing workers look into the well for the front landing gear on a 787 at the plant in Everett.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

In a year-end sales rush, Boeing reported a hefty batch of 50 new jet orders Thursday.

The same day, it delivered six Dreamliners, more than on any single day.

Along with the 50 new orders, the Boeing order website listed cancellations of one 747, one 777 and one 787.

The net gain for Boeing at list prices is approximately $10.9 billion. However, market pricing data from aircraft-valuation firm Avitas pegs the real value after standard discounts at about $5.7 billion.

In addition to orders from FedEx for four 767s and from the Iraqi government for one 777 going to Iraqi Airways, a couple of unidentified customers ordered 30 additional 777s.

Orders for 15 single-aisle 737s also came from unidentified customers.

The orders bring Boeing’s net annual sales tally to 1,115 jets.

Boeing will finish far ahead of Airbus in this year’s order race, largely because of the sales success of the 737 MAX.

At the end of last month, Airbus had a net order tally of 585 jets.

Both manufacturers will continue to deliver planes and to sign new orders up to year-end.

Boeing will reveal its final order and delivery tally for 2012 in the first week of January. Airbus will do so in mid-January.

The final tallies are expected to show Boeing regaining its status as the world’s No. 1 plane-maker, with both more orders and more jet deliveries than its European rival.

Coincidentally, Boeing on Thursday delivered six 787 Dreamliners. Previously, it had never delivered more than two in a single day.

Boeing’s Everett assembly plant delivered five to Qatar Airways; LOT of Poland; Japan Airlines; All Nippon Airways, also of Japan; and United Airlines.

Boeing’s assembly plant in North Charleston, S.C., delivered the sixth, to Air India.

The deliveries came as Boeing shut down most operations Friday for the holidays. Some deliveries will continue through year-end.

However, no Dreamliners are expected to be delivered to Chinese airlines anytime soon.

At least three 787s for Chinese airlines Hainan and China Southern have been ready for delivery for at least six weeks. But those jets have been put in storage, held up by some bureaucratic impasse.

Boeing will not disclose the reason.

Spokesman Kevin Yoo said at the beginning of November and again last Friday only that Boeing continues “to work closely with our Chinese customers to finalize the deliveries.”

This week, the Asian correspondent for magazine Aviation Week reported that six complete Dreamliners are ready to go to Chinese customers but are awaiting certification by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the Chinese equivalent of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Aviation Week reported the certification, necessary to fly in China, probably will not be issued until March.

There is no explanation as to why.

Hong Kong-based industry analyst Daniel Tsang of Aspire Aviation suggested Chinese authorities may be withholding it as “a bargaining chip,” perhaps to secure delivery slots for narrow-body airplanes.

Meanwhile, Boeing is seeking more land in South Carolina.

The airport authority in Charleston County, S.C., voted Thursday to begin talks to sell to Boeing about 320 acres across the road from the aerospace giant’s 787 manufacturing campus, the Charleston Post and Courier reported. A price has not been established.

Boeing also seeks to buy 488 more acres, and it’s getting an option to acquire the 265 acres it leases at Charleston International Airport, the paper said.

If Boeing acquired all those properties it would own 1,070 acres in North Charleston.

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