The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) reported on Tuesday a record number of commercial airplanes last year, the company reported Tuesday, firing up a rally in the company's stock.
Deliveries in 2017 show a 2% rise in commercial shipments and 5.9% decline in defense shipments, on a year-over-year basis. The company delivered 763 planes, one more than its previous high set in 2015. The company's stock rallied after the report, closing up 2.7 percent at $318.43 and leading the Dow industrials higher.
Boeing, whose shares have more than doubled over the last 12 months, said it booked orders for 912 commercial airplanes, the seventh highest annual total for the company. Those orders pushed Boeing's backlog at the end of 2017 to 5,864 commercial airplanes, an all-time high. The backlog of orders totals about seven years' worth of production, according to Boeing.
Deliveries and orders for Boeing's single-aisle 737 jet — its most popular plane — continued to grow, as it rolls out its more fuel-efficient MAX models, whose customers include American Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Boeing logged net orders for 745 of its 737 jets last year, up 35 percent from 550 a year earlier and brought production of the narrowbody planes to 47 a month.
Randy Tinseth, Boeing's vice president of marketing, said the company expects air passenger traffic to continue to grow as much as 6 percent this year, a projection he called "probably being a little conservative."
“It's hard for me to believe load factors can go much higher," he said, referring to how full airplanes are flying.