Boeing leads Airbus in both sales and production

Boeing appears headed toward another banner year in aircraft sales and production with less than a month remaining in 2014.

The company, which produces most of its airliners in the Puget Sound area, has chalked up 1,274 net orders this year and could well exceed its total of 1,355 planes ordered in 2013. Boeing initially told analysts that it expected to sell some 1,100 planes this year.

The company’s best-seller is the 737 which has accumulated 982 net orders through Dec. 2. The company’s 777 is second on the sales list with 263 orders. Boeing has received just 25 orders for its composite-bodied 787 Dreamliner this year and four orders for its 767. No new orders have been recorded for the four-engine 747-8.

With recent year orders hitting four figures (2013, 1,355; 2012, 1,203) some of Boeing’s sales are being limited by the company’s ability to produce airliners for customers in a timely manner. The company, for instance, has 4,218 unfilled orders for the 737. At present production rates and without any new orders, it would take Boeing more than eight years to produce those planes. Boeing has recently raised its production pace for the 737 to a record 42 a month with plans to eventually dial up the production speed to 52 monthly in 2018.

The aerospace company also has 845 unfilled orders for the 787, more than seven years of production at the present pace. Boeing recently said it lost a Delta Air Lines wide-bodied jet order to Airbus because the aerospace company couldn’t built the planes soon enough for the Atlanta-based airline.

The company’s production and deliveries are also hitting record numbers. Boeing reported it has delivered 674 commercial aircraft through November. The Renton-built 737 is the leader in deliveries with 440 aircraft delivered to customers through November. The 787 Dreamliner is second with 96 deliveries through the year’s eleventh month.

Those sales and production figures put Boeing ahead of its European rival, Airbus, for 2014. Airbus is reporting it has generated net orders for 1,074 aircraft this year. It has delivered 554 planes.

That sales total could jump if Airbus finalizes several large pending orders before the year’s end.