Boeing's 2018 goal: A new plane every 11 hours

Posted January 31, 2018 9:05 a.m. EST

— Boeing is looking at another record year of deliveries -- if suppliers can keep up.

The plane maker expects to deliver between 810 and 815 commercial airplanes in 2018. That means it will have to complete one roughly every 11 hours.

The world's airlines have an insatiable appetite for new airplanes thanks to the global economic expansion.

Airbus plans around 800 deliveries this year, as well.

Boeing shares shot up more than 6.5% in early trading. The forecast comes as part of its full year results for 2017. The aerospace giant reported a record 763 deliveries in 2017, topping its previous record from 2015 by one airplane.

The company said its full year earnings rose to $8.2 billion last year, up 67% compared to 2016. The company generated a record operating cash flow of $13.3 billion -- a closely watched measure by investors -- and spent $9.2 billion buying back 46.1 million shares of its stock.

The aerospace giant's shares have soared over the past year, more than doubling as it contributes heavily to increases in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Most of Boeing's deliveries in 2018 will be for smaller jets.

This year is expected to bring another increase in production of Boeing's single-aisle 737 airliner. By year's end, they'll be rolling off the assembly line at a pace of 52 every single month, five more than in 2017. The company also opens its new plant in China later this year, designed to install cabins for Chinese airlines which make up around a third of all 737 deliveries today.

While the ambitions at both Boeing and Airbus are sky high, the plane makers need their biggest suppliers to keep pace with the record demand. Both CFM International and Pratt & Whitney have struggled to deliver new jet engines on time to both manufacturers. Executives at CFM, a joint venture between General Electric and France's Safran, said last week that they are four to five weeks behind on shipments.

CFM plans to make as many as 1,200 of its new jet engines to plane makers this year, most for Boeing and Airbus. That's nearly two and a half times what it delivered in 2017. CFM supplies the engines for every Boeing 737.