Boeing plans to firm more than 1,000 "commitments" for the re-engined 737 MAX this year. Courtesy, Boeing

Boeing posted 2011 net income of $4.02 billion, up 21.5% over a net profit of $3.31 billion in 2010, as the company's Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) unit increased revenue 13.6% year-over-year to $36.17 billion.

"With a record backlog and intense focus on productivity, we are well positioned to deliver growth and increased competitiveness," chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney said. He added that one of the manufacturer's main priorities for 2012 is to "continue with disciplined increases in production rates for our commercial airplane customers."

He told analysts and reporters that Boeing is now building 2.5 787s per month, to ramp up to 3.5 monthly in the 2012 second quarter and to 10 monthly by the end of 2013. "We will exit [2012] with a pretty good production flow going" on the Dreamliner program, he commented. "As each month passes, my confidence does grow. But these ramp-ups are always difficult." The company recently raised its 737NG production rate to 35 monthly (ATW Daily News, Jan. 12).

McNerney said that "air transportation remained noticeably resilient" last year in the face of a sluggish global economy, though he noted that air cargo traffic was flat year-over-year in 2011 and trending down toward the end of the year.
Boeing delivered 477 commercial aircraft in 2011, up 3% from 462 in 2010. BCA's 2011 operating income was $3.5 billion, up 16% over 2010.

Boeing's overall 2011 revenue rose 6.9% year-over-year to $68.74 billion. Expenses heightened 7.8% to $55.87 billion and operating profit was reported at $5.85 billion, up 17.5%. Boeing's 2011 commercial deliveries were led by 372 737NGs and also included 73 777s.

McNerney said Boeing plans to firm more than 1,000 "commitments" for the re-engined 737 MAX this year, adding that airlines' interest in the aircraft "validates" the manufacturer's decision to re-engine the narrowbody (ATW, Jan. 1).

"We should have a pretty good order year" in 2012, he said, noting that orders likely will be led by 737 MAX finalizations. "But we also see robust activity across our other products," he added.