The inaugural delivery of a 787-10 jet built at Boeing Co.'s North Charleston campus highlighted a first quarter that saw the aerospace giant bring 34 Dreamliners to customers, the company said Tuesday.
Singapore Airlines was the kickoff customer for the 787-10, taking delivery of the wide-body on March 25. The newest and largest member of the Dreamliner family, the "Dash 10" is built exclusively in North Charleston, where Boeing employs about 7,000 workers.
This is the 13th consecutive quarter in which the planemaker has delivered at least 30 Dreamliners. Except for the Singapore Airlines plane, all of the first-quarter deliveries were for the 787-9 model.
The North Charleston campus assembled 15 of the Dreamliners that went to customers during the first three months of this year while Boeing's other 787 campus in Everett, Wash., turned out 19 of the wide-body planes.
All told, Boeing delivered 184 commercial planes to buyers for the January-March period, including 132 single-aisle 737s. The deliveries represent a 9 percent increase over the same quarter last year.
French-based rival Airbus delivered 121 commercial planes during the first quarter — a 9.4 percent decline from the prior year.
Boeing also booked 24 net orders for the Dreamliner during the first quarter, including sales to Bank of China and Turkish Airlines. Norwegian Airlines, meanwhile, canceled a prior order for six 787-9 models.
The order book for the Dreamliner now stands at 1,365 planes, with 671 deliveries and 694 remaining in a production backlog that stretches for more than four years. Those orders include a deal announced Friday in which American Airlines will take 47 Dreamliners, split between 22 787-8 models and 25 of the larger 787-9s, valued at more than $12 billion.
The American deal and another 787-8 order last month from an unidentified customer represent a resurgence for the oldest and smallest member of the Dreamliner family, which accounted for just eight sales in the previous two years.
"The 787-8 is staging a little bit of an orders comeback with the 22 ... ordered by American Airlines this month," analyst Uresh Sheth said on his All Things 787 website, which tracks Dreamliner production statistics.
Boeing said last month it is modifying the rear fuselage for the 787-8 to make it more compatible with the 787-9 and 787-10, except for the lengths. The aft sections for all Dreamliners are built at the North Charleston campus.
Overall, Boeing notched 221 net new aircraft orders during the first quarter, including 171 for its 737s. That's well ahead of the 45 net orders that Airbus recorded for the period.