Boeing earnings up, CEO tamps down union talk

Boeing said its net income this year will be bigger than it had expected as deliveries of commercial airplanes picks up.

The Boeing Co., one of the Charleston region’s largest private employers, reported a third-quarter profit of $1 billion on $20 billion in revenue today.

The $1.35 earnings per share for the quarter exceeded analysts’ expectations, and Boeing raised its year-end earnings guidance to between $4.80 and $4.95 per share on projected revenues of between $80.5 and $82 billion.

Driving the financial gains at the Chicago-based aerospace giant was an uptick in commercial airplane deliveries during the July-September period, including the first 787 Dreamliner made at its North Charleston campus.

Boeing’s defense unit saw quarterly revenues decrease but operating margin increase.

During the associated conference call with investment analysts and reporters, CEO Jim McNerney said the company continues to do more business internally and is “well-positioned” to take advantage of a booming commercial airplane market and a more challenging defense market.

McNerney said Boeing South Carolina continues to progress along its learning curve. He said he does not share a Machinists union representative’s expectation of a union vote at the plant within the next year.

“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion obviously. We’re committed to working with our employees down in Charleston,” McNerney said. “It’s not clear to us they need representation.”

Wednesday’s earnings report comes as Boeing is continuing to up its commercial airplane production rates while preparing for the looming American budget cuts.

On Tuesday, Boeing began building its first 777 at an increased rate of 8.3 per month, and its arch rival, Airbus, opened a new assembly line for its A350, which will compete with the 787 and 777.

Meanwhile, between its North Charleston and Everett, Wash. factories, Boeing plans to be producing five 787 Dreamliners a month by the end of the year.

Boeing South Carolina expects to deliver its second jet to Air India in this month.

Check back for more details later at and in Thursday’s newspaper.