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Boeing’s backlog hits record level but output remains flat

Boeing’s industrial dispute last year kept its output flat in 2005, making the company miss its original delivery target by 30 aircraft. However, the US manufacturer’s firm order backlog has soared to its highest-ever level following its record number of orders last year.

Boeing order

The US airframer delivered 290 aircraft last year, which was up only slightly on the 285 shipped in 2004. Its original 2005 target of 320 aircraft could not be achieved due to the machinists’ strike at its Seattle facilities in the third quarter, which effectively stopped production for around a month.

However, the manufacturer’s backlog has surged by 65% after its record order tally over the last 12 months, to 1,809 aircraft from 1,100 at the end of 2004. The manufacturer’s previously highest-ever year-end backlog was 1998, when it had 1,786 aircraft on order (including McDonnell Douglas types – see graph above). At that time Boeing was backlog market-share leader with 58%, but lost the advantage two years later to Airbus and has yet to regain it.

Boeing has not yet provided full details of its 2006 output plans, but is believed to be aiming to deliver around 395 aircraft this year, which would be its highest output level since 2002.

MAX KINGSLEY-JONES/LONDON

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