Boeing secured orders for 335 commercial aircraft last year, but the net intake, after cancellations and order conversions, fell 50% to 272 aircraft, compared with the previous year. The downturn has made it the company's worst performance since the slump after the 1991 Gulf War.

The company's 2001 gross orders were well down on the 400 aircraft Boeing was forecasting to sell last year. It says the 335 gross order tally for 2001 represented "only a 16% drop" on its previous forecast for the year.

The company's backlog has declined 10% to 1,363 aircraft. A calculation from the 2000 year-end backlog of 1,612 aircraft reveals that 63 orders have been removed after adjustments for 2001 orders and deliveries (527 aircraft). Boeing explains this figure by saying that it suffered 23 cancellations last year (all before 11 September), and the remainder involve the conversion of 40 existing orders which it counts as new ones.

The company says 80% of this year's orders will be delivered by 2005, reflecting a secure near-term backlog and a growing trend to more profitable shorter order and delivery cycles. Boeing says the bulk of the final orderbook for the year was made up of 737s, and 188 new orders for the family were taken, with the 757 and 767 securing 44 and 51 respectively. Thirty new orders for the 777 were also received and 16 for the 747. The 717 continues to struggle, with just six new orders being received.

Although Airbus will not reveal its final 2001 performance figures until later this week, Boeing claims that the 527 commercial deliveries achieved last year represent 62% of the industry's total deliveries for last year.

Source: Flight International