Boeing beat delivery projections for 2012 by delivering 601 commercial airplanes last year – the most since 1999, the company reported Thursday.
The company is on track to beat Airbus in the number of commercial planes delivered in 2012.
Airbus, which will release full year order and delivery numbers later this month, has beat Boeing in deliveries in recent years.
Boeing’s 2012 deliveries beat the company’s delivery projections of 585 to 600 aircraft.
Boeing also booked 1,203 net orders last year, the second-largest number of orders the company has taken in a single year.
It now has 4,373 unfilled commercial airplane orders on its books, the highest amount in the company’s history.
Wichita’s Spirit AeroSystems builds portions of all Boeing commercial airliners, including the 737 fuselage.
To help meet demand, Boeing increased commercial airliner deliveries by 26 percent – to “put more airplanes into the hands of our customers,” Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement.
Boeing will continue to focus on raising production rates and improve how it builds airplanes, Conner told employees in a memo Thursday.
The company will transition the 787-9 Dreamliner into production and flight test and continue to work toward the 787-10X and the 777X, guided by customer needs, he said.
“On our development programs, we will be more disciplined as we implement lessons learned from the past,” Conner said in the employee memo. “We’ll think early in the process about how we can better support our customers throughout the product lifecycle, while ensuring our own profitability.
With the record backlog, “we have huge opportunity ahead of us if we execute on our commitments,” Conner said. “We know we have the right products and we’ve proven we know how to increase rates. I know we have the right team to make it possible.”
Boeing reported that its 737 program set a record for the most orders received of any Boeing model in a single year.
The company took 1,124 net orders for the 737 single-aisle airplane, including 914 for the fuel-efficient 737 MAX, an upgrade of the 737, which will have new engines.
Boeing introduced the 737 MAX as an answer to the Airbus A320 neo, for “new engine option,” which boosted orders last year.
Boeing plans to begin deliveries of the 737 MAX in 2017. Boeing continues to build the current version, the 737 Next Generation, of the airplane.
In 2012, Boeing delivered 415 commercial 737 Next Generation airliners; 31 747s; 26 767s; 83 777s; and 46 787s.