Boeing wins $8.8 billion in 737 MAX orders, still short of goal

Wed Jan 4, 2017 4:47pm EST
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By Alwyn Scott

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) said on Wednesday it had booked firm orders for 80 of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft, valued at $8.8 billion at list prices, upping its 2016 tally but leaving it short of its goal.

The orders mean the world's biggest plane maker clinched at least 536 net jetliner sales last year compared with its target of selling as many commercial jets as it delivers, a total it puts between 745 and 750. Through November, Boeing had delivered 681 planes.

Boeing's order tally could climb again on Friday, as the company posts its final update for 2016.

Investors watch orders closely as a way to gauge future production and revenue, since Boeing earns the bulk of its money when aircraft are delivered.

The company has orders equivalent to about seven years of production, but the majority are single-aisle 737 planes, and sales of its more expensive widebodies like the 777 remain sluggish.

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg affirmed the company's overall order target in July. In December, he said Boeing would cut 777 output by 40 percent this year due to slow sales of widebody planes.

The orders announced Wednesday include 75 Boeing 737 MAX 8s for General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote) Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), valued at $8.25 billion at list prices.

GE supplies engines for the 737 MAX through CFM International, a joint venture with Safran SA (SAF.PA: Quote) of France. The latest sale means GECAS now has 170 Boeing 737 MAXs on order, more than any other leasing company, Boeing said.   Continued...

The Boeing Company logo is projected on a wall at the "What's Next?" conference in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., October 4, 2016.    REUTERS/Jim Young