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Boeing Beats Airbus on Q2 Deliveries

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International commercial aircraft manufacturer, The Boeing Company (BA - Free Report) announced its second quarter 2013 deliveries across commercial and defense operations. The first half numbers were ahead of its European rival, Airbus.

During the first half of the year, Boeing delivered 306 jetliners, 6.6% higher than the year-ago level. On the other hand, Airbus delivered 295 commercial planes so far this year. It delivered 233 of its smaller A320 family of planes compared to Boeing's delivery of 218 of its 737 Next Generations.

Boeing’s second quarter delivery level advanced 12.7% on an annualized basis with deliveries of 169 airplanes marking a 15-year high. The production level was boosted in order to keep pace with the increasing demand for new aircraft.

During the second quarter, the 737 model continued to be the pillar of Boeing’s strength in the commercial airplane sector with deliveries of 116 airplanes, followed by its 777 model with 23 deliveries. Both these models continue to perform better than competing models owing to their fuel efficiency and lower operating costs. In the year-earlier period, the company delivered 109 units of the 737 and 22 units of the 777 model. It also delivered 16 787s and an additional Dreamliner under a short-term financing agreement with Air India Ltd.

Boeing’s deliveries in the defense and space business numbered 31 in the second quarter of 2013 compared with 43 in the first quarter of 2013 and 36 in the second quarter last year. Of this, 12 were F/A-18E/F and EA-18G fighter jets, 8 were Chinook helicopters and 5 were Apache helicopters.

During the quarter, the company hiked its 737 production level from 35 to 38 jets per month with plans to increase the rate to 42 a month in 2014. The first quarter saw Boeing delivering just one 787 with a promise to give away at least 60 such aircraft by the end of the year. The lifting of the ban on the 787 in late April by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration removed a major overhang.

Meanwhile, the Paris Show has brought in big orders for both the aerospace heavyweights Boeing and Airbus. At the end of the 50th Paris Air Show, held at Le Bourget on alternate years, Airbus came out on the top.

Europe's Airbus notched up approximately $70 billion in sales at the show with respect to deals for 466 planes. Boeing was not too far behind with agreements inked for 442 planes worth $66 billion.

Though both the companies announced billions of dollars worth of orders for their single-aisle jets, sales of their bigger planes remained the center of attraction. Boeing officially launched its new 787-10 wide-body aircraft, clinching 102 orders. Like the A350, this airplane will make broad use of lightweight carbon fiber. United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL - Free Report) became one of the launch customers for Boeing's new 787-10 Dreamliner model. The company also won orders for six of its wide-body 777s with twin engines.

The Paris Air Show indicated that the ongoing battle for supremacy in the global commercial aircraft market is heating up. Swelling orders and rising production schedule hint that aerospace manufacturers are in for a multi-year run of steady revenue and profit growth.

Boeing presently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). There are other companies in the sector that also appear promising and worth accumulating now. These are Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) Erickson Air-Crane Inc. and Zacks Ranked #2 (Buy) Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC - Free Report) .

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