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Boeing Delivers Record Number Of Planes In 2015, Topping Airbus

Ashley Gross
A 787 being assembled in Boeing's Everett plant

Boeing appears to have topped Airbus for a third year in a row in airplane deliveries, and the company has a new record backlog of more than 5,700 planes still to build. That's eight years' worth of production at the current rate.

Boeing delivered 723 planes last year, the most the company’s ever built. Archrival Airbus hasn’t released data for the full year yet, but as of the end of November, the European company had delivered 554.

Cowen & Co. analyst Cai von Rumohr says there are a number of reasons why he’s expecting Boeing to continue the trend this year. The company is enjoying a stretch of labor peace after reaching a deal with the machinists’ union, and von Rumohr says there aren’t likely to be major changes in production this year. That means employees can work more efficiently.

"You really have never had an environment like this where you really should be able to do extremely well in terms of productivity and hopefully profitability exceeding expectations," said von Rumohr.

Von Rumohr says the main reason Boeing’s been able to beat Airbus the past few years is the 787 Dreamliner. Boeing was faster to the market than Airbus with a next-generation, fuel-efficient, long-haul jet. Boeing delivered 114 Dreamliners last year.

Airbus’s answer to the Dreamliner is the A350, the first of which was delivered to Qatar Airways last month. 

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