Boeing managed to deliver sixty-nine 737s in December and set a new annual record of 806 deliveries in 2018, only four short of its target of 810 to 815 despite supplier problems that disrupted production throughout the summer. The delivery total eclipsed its previous record of 763, set in 2017, while Boeing's order book showed net sales of 893 airplanes, including 203 in December.
“Boeing raised the bar again in 2018 thanks to our teammates’ incredible focus on meeting customer commitments and continuously improving quality and productivity,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister. “In a dynamic year, our production discipline and our supplier partners helped us build and deliver more airplanes than ever before to satisfy the strong demand for air travel across the globe.”
Boeing’s “dynamic year” included shortages of Leap-1B engines from CFM and 737 fuselage sections from Spirit Aerosystems. In September the airframe maker re-hired retired employees and temporarily assigned another 600 to its 737 assembly plant in Renton, Washington, from various sites around the Puget Sound region to help speed delivery of the narrowbodies and clear its factory grounds of unfinished airplanes. After delivering just 43 narrowbodies in October, it managed to increase the 737 rate to 61 in November before executing on its December delivery record. The company's normal 737 rate stands at 52 per month.
Nearly half of the year's 580 deliveries of 737s involved the new Max family, including the first Max 9 airplanes.
At the same time, Boeing continued to build the 787 Dreamliner at the highest production rate for a twin-aisle airplane, finishing the year with 145 deliveries.
Shipments of various 777, 767, and 747-8 models rounded out the total of 806 airplanes for the year. Deliveries of 767s included the transfer of ten 767-2Cs to Boeing Defense, Space & Security for the U.S. Air Force KC-46 tanker program.
Boeing valued net orders for 893 airplanes at $143.7 billion based on list prices. While expanding the order backlog for nearly every program, the company showed particular strength in the twin-aisle category, collecting orders for 218 widebodies last year.
Boeing added orders for 109 Dreamliners last year, about 1,400 since the program launched. Highlights include Hawaiian Airlines switching from the Airbus A330 to the 787 and Turkish Airlines becoming a new customer. American Airlines and United Airlines added to the growing list of repeat Dreamliner purchases with 47 and 13 additional jets, respectively.
The 777 family continued its steady sales momentum with net orders for 51 examples, driven by sales of the 777 Freighter to DHL Express, FedEx Express, ANA Cargo, Qatar Airways, and other major freight operators. With its latest sales in December, the 777 program exceeded 2,000 orders since its launch.
The 737 Max family also achieved a sales milestone in December, surpassing 5,000 net orders with 181 new sales during December. For the full year, the 737 program achieved 675 net orders, including sales to 13 new customers.
“More broadly, another year of healthy jet orders continues to support our long-term forecast for robust global demand that will see the commercial airplane fleet double in 20 years,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of sales and marketing Ihssane Mounir.