Boeing Commercial Airplanes delivered slightly fewer aircraft in the first half of 2017, but still managed to record a big boost in earnings.
Specifically, it delivered 352 aircraft during the period, 23 fewer than in the first half of 2016, although operating profit rise from $60 million to $2.8 billion.
Costs relating to the 747 program and early Dreamliner problems had pushed Boeing into a negative operating margin in the second quarter of last year, but it bounced back in 2Q 2017 to positive 10%.
During the latest quarter Boeing delivered its first 737 MAX 8, launched the 737 MAX 10 and booked 183 firm orders, net of cancellations. It also delivered 183 aircraft, including 123 737-family aircraft, 33 787s, 21 777s, three 767s and three 747s.
At the end of June Boeing’s commercial backlog was worth $423 million, up from $415 million at the end of March.
The company still expects to deliver 760-765 during the full year, although it has improved its operating margin forecast from 9.5%-10% to above 10%.
“Our teams are delivering better performance in every segment of the business, which is reflected in our strong second-quarter results and improved 2017 outlook," says Boeing chairman Dennis Muilenburg.
Strong performance in the aftermarket saw Boeing’s Global Services & Support unit record operational earnings of $356 million in the second quarter, a third higher than the year-before period.
This figure includes military contracts but may also reflect Boeing’s increasingly active role in the commercial aftermarket via maintenance and training provision.
First-half earnings for Global Services & Support were up 11% to $674 million and Boeing expects the unit’s operating margin for the full year to breach 13.5%, up from a previous forecast of 12.5%-plus.