Boeing releases earnings, delivery forecast

Boeing 787

JOEL HAWKSLEY

Boeing reported earnings of $4 billion, or $5.34 per share, on revenue of $68.7 billion in 2011, the aerospace giant reported before the markets opened Wednesday morning. Almost $1.4 billion of those earnings and more than $19.5 billion of 2011's annual revenues came in the last three months of the year.

Both the annual revenue number and the value of Boeing's work backlog at year end -- $356 billion -- were records, according to the company. Boeing expects to exceed that annual revenue benchmark this year, though it forecast lower earnings per share in 2012.

Perhaps the figures with most local meaning are the company's 2012 airplane delivery forecasts for its two newest planes. Boeing expects to hand over 75 to 80 747-8s and Dreamliners this year, "of which approximately half are 787 aircraft," according to the company release.

Boeing delivered only three Dreamliners last year, which was below even downgraded expectations for the much-hyped but long-delayed wide-body program. But in 2012, the company's North Charleston facility will contribute several fully assembled jets to the effort.

The first SC-made jet, which now sits in the fourth of five final assembly positions and had its engines installed late last week, is due for delivery to Air India in the spring. The second locally assembled Dreamliner is just a couple of positions behind it.

By the end of 2013, Boeing expects to deliver three Dreamliners per month out of North Charleston and seven per month out of its principal final assembly operation in Everett, Wash. There are more than 800 outstanding orders for the new jet, which features a composite fuselage and passenger comforts such as bigger windows and higher cabin pressure.

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney will speak to investors and reporters on a 10:30 a.m. conference call.

Check back later for updates at postandcourier.com and in tomorrow's newspaper.