Boeing has set its 787 programme a historically high break-even quantity of 1,100 units.

The figure was some 100 units higher than had been expected, and far exceeds the 400-unit figures set for the 777, 737NG, 747, 757 and 767 programmes.

The announcement came with Boeing's results for the third quarter to the end of September, which saw its Commercial Airplanes division improve operating revenue by 6.7% to $1.1 billion on sales up 9% to $9.5 billion. Deliveries were up three units at 127.

However, Boeing has owered its expected delivery total for the year to about 480 airliners, down from between 485 and 495, owing to lower than planned deliveries of the 787 and 747-8. Those two programmes will deliver between 15 and 20 units between them - including around 12 747-8s - rather than the 25 to 30 units previously planned.

The third quarter result was consistent with the year to date, leaving Commercial Airplanes profit for the nine-month period up 6% to $2.5 billion on sales up 8% to nearly $25.5 billion. Operating margin, at 9.9% over nine months, is half a percent above full-year 2010 performance.

Boeing's profit star, however, has been its Military Aircraft unit; for the year to the end of September, sales growth of 4% to just short of $11 billion generated 23% profit growth, to more than $1.15 billion.

Earnings at Boeing Capital fell 58% in the third quarter, to $19 million, on sales down 26% to $126 million. Over nine months, Capital earnings dipped 9% to $133 million on sales down 16% to $416 million.

Overall, Boeing's third quarter revenue was up 4% to $17.7 billion and operating profit gained 24% to $1.71 billion. For the year to the end of September, revenue was up 3% to nearly $49.2 billion and profit rose 10% to $4.25 billion.

Backlog is up $10.7 billion from year-end, reflecting $61 billion of net orders in the first nine months of 2011.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news