Boeing reports a holiday rush in jet sales

Boeing 737
Boeing’s first 737 MAX jet makes its way through the production line at the Renton assembly plant. Most of the orders that Boeing booked in 2016 were for 737 jets. (Boeing Photo)

The Boeing Co. says it delivered 748 commercial jets last year and booked net orders for 668 aircraft, including a burst of 202 orders in December.

As furious as that pace was, it didn’t quite match Boeing’s performance in 2015 or analysts’ year-end expectations for 2016. Nevertheless, the count seems likely to leave Boeing ahead of its European rival, Airbus, which is due to report its final 2016 figures next week.

Boeing’s tally doesn’t include its multibillion-dollar sale to Iran, which is still contingent on financing, but it does take 180 canceled orders into account. The company said its order backlog remains at roughly seven years’ worth of production at current rates.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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