The Boeing Company (BA - Analyst Report) has received an order worth $1 billion from Cathay Pacific Airways for three 747-8 Freighter airplanes. The order also includes options for five additional 777 Freighters.
Besides strengthening its position as a market leader in the air cargo business, Cathay Pacific Airways seems to be renewing its freighter fleet with newer, more efficient airplanes. Cathay Pacific currently operates six 747-400 Freighters, eight 747-8 Freighters, six 747-400ER Freighters and one 747-400 BCF. The new 747-8 Freighters fleet will gradually replace the older fleet.
The Boeing 747-8 is a wide-body jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the fourth-generation Boeing 747 version, with lengthened fuselage, redesigned wings, and improved efficiency. The 747-8 has two main variants: the 747-8 Intercontinental (747-8I) for passengers and the 747-8 Freighter (747-8F) for cargo.
The 747-8 Freighter gives customers 16% more revenue cargo volume in comparison to its predecessor like 747-400 Freighter with comparable trip costs and lower ton-mile costs. Besides providing enhanced environmental performance, the 747-8 Freighter benefits cargo operators with the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large freighter airplane. After 100,000 hours of service, the 747-8 Freighters have reported a 1% improvement in fuel burn than expected by customers.
Boeing is the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world in terms of revenue, orders and deliveries, and one of the largest aerospace and defense contractors. In fourth quarter of 2012, Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes made 165 deliveries in comparison to 128 in the year-ago quarter. In 2012, the company delivered the first 747-8 Intercontinental. Recently, Boeing also received an order for two Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental from Air China.
Due to the continuing recovery of the global economy, demand for Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes is benefiting from a steady improvement in passenger and freight traffic. To catch up with the expected rise in air traffic and to check fuel bills, airliners will need to replace older airplanes with new ones.
Also, the U.S. defense budget is skewed towards a number of prominent Boeing programs. Overall, the growth momentum is expected to be maintained by its order backlog, planned production rate increases and a globally diversified customer base. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Based in Chicago, Boeing Company is a premier jet aircraft manufacturer and one of the largest defense contractors in the U.S. The company’s customers include domestic and foreign airlines, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, other aerospace prime contractors, and certain U.S. government and commercial communications customers.
Other stocks to consider are Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT - Analyst Report), Rockwell Collins Inc. (COL - Analyst Report) and Alliant Techsystems Inc. , all with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).