Boeing is riding a wave of demand for new fuel-efficient planes from airlines around the globe. Now the trick is to build them fast enough.
With a backlog of orders worth $344 billion, Boeing has been speeding up production of its big commercial planes. It now says it will boost output of the new 787 by 40 percent by the end of the decade.
On Wednesday, Boeing reported a better-than-expected third-quarter profit and raised its full-year outlook. Its shares hit an all-time high.
Along with automakers, aerospace companies like Boeing have been a source of manufacturing strength, offsetting the recent struggles of other big manufacturers like Caterpillar.
On Wednesday, Caterpillar said a steep drop-off in its mining business reduced revenue by $11 billion compared with last year. The maker of mining and construction equipment reduced its profit guidance for the second time in three months. Automakers have been benefiting from low interest rates and pent-up demand from carbuyers who held onto cars for longer than usual during the last recession.
Boeing and European rival Airbus are benefiting from a big expansion of low-cost airlines in Asia and Latin America, and faster replacements of current planes because new planes are fuel efficient enough to justify their cost. Also, buying an airplane almost always involves a loan, so like carmakers, aerospace companies have also been benefiting from lower interest rates.
Boeing is now making its long-haul 777 at a rate of more than eight a month, up from five in 2010. Airbus has boosted output of its competing A330 to 10 a month.
On Wednesday, Boeing said it will boost production of the 787 from 10 a month by the end of this year to 12 a month in 2016, and its aiming to get to 14 a month by the end of this decade.