The Associated Press is reporting that Boeing Co. posted 29 percent higher first-quarter profits to overcome a poor showing by its defense business.
Boeing announced results Wednesday - two years to the day that they launched plans for the fuel-conscious 787 jet - that reflect continuing help from the 737 and the 777. Commercial airplane revenues were up 48 percent, and its operating margins increased by 10 percent.
The world's No. 2 commercial jet manufacturer continues to try to catch rival Airbus SAS. Boeing booked 176 orders — 54 of them for the still-in-development 787 — in the first three months of 2006 and has a backlog of $132 billion, more than double that of a year ago.
"What typically you'd see in the cycle is a peak order year and then orders for the next several years would drop off pretty dramatically," Chief Financial Officer James Bell said on a conference call. "Although we've seen a moderation of orders this year ... it does look like that they will level off and stabilize over the next couple of years at least."