Boeing Dominates Dubai Airshow


A Boeing 777 taking off from its plant in Everett, Wash. Photo credit: Boeing.

Boeing has been on a tear this year, with its stock price nearly doubling over the last 12 months. Concerns regarding a decline in Boeing's defense business have been overshadowed by the overwhelming demand for its commercial aircraft, where customers already have to wait years for their ordered products. This week boasts one of the aviation industry's biggest events, and Boeing is cleaning up at the Dubai Airshow.

Boeing launched its 777X program today with a record-breaking number of customer orders for the twin-aisle product. Commitments for 259 airplanes from four customers is a huge start to what looks to be a very successful product for Boeing. Emirates topped the orders by agreeing to purchase 150 airplanes; Qatar Airways took 50; Lufthansa 34, and Etihad Airways 25.

Those agreements combine to be worth more than $95 billion at list prices. That's a huge win for Boeing; to put the sum in perspective, it's worth more than Boeing's entire 2013 revenue estimate. Overall, Boeing's raked in 342 orders worth more than $100 billion at the airshow, while European rival Airbus managed 142 orders worth roughly $40 billion.

"We are proud to partner with each of these esteemed airlines to launch the 777X -- the largest and most-efficient twin-engine jetliner in the world," Boeing commercial airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner said in a press release. "Its ground-breaking engine technologies and all-new composite wing will deliver unsurpassed value and growth potential to our customers."

The 777X will provide customers with a 12% savings in fuel over any competing aircraft. Fuel costs, in line with overall expenses, have doubled over the last decade, and are a primary consideration when cash-strapped airlines look to purchase airplanes.

While the 777X has certainly stolen the show, it's not the only Boeing aircraft making headlines.

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has been a headache for those flying and for those investing. Despite the budget overruns, production delays, and grounded airplanes, Boeing received its 1,000th customer order today for the aircraft when Etihad Airways ordered 30 787-10 Dreamliners valued at $8.7 billion.

The sky seems to be the limit for Boeing's stock price as commercial aircraft continue to boost company revenue. Boeing has an enormous $415 billion backlog, worth more than 4.5 estimated 2013 sales, which offers investors a security blanket during rough times.

Illustration from Boeing's 20-year forecast.

Boeing also projects the globe's fleet to double in size over the next two decades. That's an increase of 35,280 new airplanes valued at $4.8 trillion, and Boeing appears well positioned to earn its fair share of that amount. While the U.S. government is expected to cut defense spending by up to $1 trillion over the next nine years, it's clear Boeing's commercial aircraft business will keep the company flying high.

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