An improved contribution from Boeing's commercial aircraft business helped boost the company's first quarter operating earnings to $739 million, against $119 million for the same period last year. Commercial Airplanes contributed $382 million, compared with $23 million during last year's production problems.

Although suggesting Boeing has turned the corner, chief financial officer Debby Hopkins predicts that commercial aircraft margins - at 3.9% for the quarter from -0.7% in 1998 - will fall off in the second and third quarters to 2-3%.

Chairman and chief executive Phil Condit says the results "indicate we've made some real improvements, but we have a long way to go". Anticipated net profits for 1999 are $1.6-$1.8 billion on revenues of around $58 billion.

Source: Flight International