As has been my tradition these past couple of years, I just took a look back at our post from this time last January. Here’s what I said then:
I don’t think there’s any need to “sugar-coat” the outlook for 2009 and beyond. It’s going to be tough, challenging, difficult ..
I guess we just about nailed that one, huh? In that same post I hinted that 2009 would be one for the history books, and that it certainly was.
On the positive side, we did achieve some of the significant milestones that were on the horizon for us one year ago – first delivery of the 777 Freighter, 787 first flight and commencement of flight test, and final assembly and factory completion of the 747-8 Freighter as that airplane gets ready for its first flight.
Into a gorgeous sunset for the 787 as flight tests continue into 2010.
In terms of year-end orders and deliveries, we’ve just released those numbers. You can take a look at the details here and here. For me, the key takeaways from our year-end 2009 numbers are that we met our delivery target for commercial airplanes and our core manufacturing business is running extremely well.
During 2009 we delivered 481 airplanes to customers, which is within our announced guidance of 480 to 485 deliveries for 2009. And we retain a strong backlog of 3,375 airplanes.
To no one’s surprise, the challenges of 2009 were reflected in our order totals. But we did have a strong year once again for the Next-Generation 737, and a significant order towards the end of the year for the 747-8 Intercontinental.
I did some media interviews on Thursday, and when asked about the future by a number of reporters I told them couple of things. First, we don’t give guidance until we do our 4th quarter earnings later in the month. However, we do expect – as I’ve said before - 2010 will be a year of economic recovery, while 2011 will be a year in which airlines recover. Which means that in 2012 we should see an increase in airplane demand.
On another issue, you may have noticed reflected on our orders Web site that our good customer ANA has opted to convert their 787-3 orders into other models. Simply put, getting aircraft into their hands for earlier delivery was a better solution for them.
As a result there are no longer any 787-3 orders in the backlog. Going forward, we’ll continue to assess the market viability of the -3.
By the way, the ANA order conversion does not impact the overall 787 order count. As of January 7, the 787 Dreamliner has a total of 851 orders from 56 customers.