Randy's Journal: Archives

01 February 2007

Gaining altitude

Almost exactly a year ago I was musing about some very encouraging financial results for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and about the guidance for strong growth - and optimism - in the years ahead.

Well, here we are, having just released our performance report for the fourth quarter and full-year 2006, and I'd say a lot of the "measures for success" we talked about last year have borne fruit.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Section 43 photo

Speaking of "gaining altitude," 787 Dreamliner major assembly is well underway as we work toward rollout and first flight later this year. Here, section 43, built by our partner KHI, waits to be shipped to Global Aeronautica in Charleston, South Carolina. The first shipment arrived in Charleston on January 15.

And 2007 promises to be another exciting year. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We've already talked here a bit about the many accomplishments of 2006. As CEO Jim McNerney put it very succinctly yesterday, "2006 was a very good year for Boeing." Indeed the company set records in revenue, cash flow and backlog. We also overcame some meaningful challenges.

Some of the highlights:

  • BCA deliveries rose 37% to 398 airplanes
  • BCA revenue rose 33% to $28.5 billion
  • Net orders for 2006 were a record 1,044 airplanes
  • The 737 program achieved a another record tally - 729 net orders
  • 787 Dreamliner now has 452 firm orders from 36 customers

And thanks to a second straight year of record commercial airplane orders, BCA's contractual backlog rose to a record $174 billion. So obviously things are looking up.

Last January I noted that 2005 was a "great ride." And as I've said before, who knew at that time that 2006 would be an even greater ride?

But as each year becomes an even tougher act to follow, it just means we have to concentrate all the more on developing and providing the products and services that our customers and the market demand.

Good results don't let us off the hook for our obligations for tomorrow. We all have to continue to work hard - and meet our commitments to our customers, and also to our employees, investors, and communities.

And as you might expect, we've set the bar high for 2007 and 2008. BCA's 2007 delivery guidance remains 440 - 445 airplanes and is completely sold out. Airplane deliveries in 2008 are expected to rise to between 515 and 520 airplanes and are essentially sold out. And we foresee deliveries to be higher still in 2009.

What else is ahead? The first deliveries for the 737-700ER and 737-900ER later this year; continued orders and deliveries of the 767; the 787 rollout and first flight - leading up to first delivery in 2008; four customers taking their first 777 deliveries this year; firm configuration of the 747-8 Intercontinental; and of course the Air Force tanker competition.

Yes, it's going to be very busy. A lot to accomplish. It's all about keeping our focus as we continue gaining altitude.