US aerospace giant Boeing announced Tuesday a banner year in 2014 for its commercial jets business, setting new records for orders and deliveries.
Boeing said it booked 1,432 net orders for commercial aircraft last year, worth $232.7 billion at list prices, topping its previous record set in 2007. In 2013, the company had 1,355 orders.
The backlog of unfilled orders climbed to 5,789 in 2014, also an all-time high.
For the second year in a row, the company said it had delivered a record number of airliners, at 723, as it stepped up production.
For deliveries, closely watched by investors because they produce revenues, Boeing came in near the top of its estimate of between 715 and 725 jets.
And it topped its forecast for the all-new, high-tech 787 Dreamliner, launched three years ago.
The Chicago-based company handed over 114 Dreamliners to customers, four more than it expected, as deliveries picked up pace in the fourth quarter, reaching 35.
“I’m extremely proud of the entire Boeing team, and all of the hard work that went into delivering and selling a record number of commercial airplanes this past year,” said Ray Conner, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a statement.
Leading the orders bookings were new versions of Boeing’s best-selling 737, the single-aisle industry workhorse, the Next-Generation 737 and the 737 MAX, with 1,104 orders. Those were followed by 283 orders for the 777 and the 777X.
All three Boeing production sites — two in Washington state and one in South Carolina — set new records for deliveries, the company said.
Despite shattering its own order records last year, Boeing remained eclipsed by European rival Airbus’s industry of a record 1,503 orders in 2013.
The France-based aircraft manufacturer has not yet published 2014 figures on orders and deliveries. As of November 30, it reported a total 1,031 net new aircraft orders in the year to date and 554 deliveries.
Airbus appeared to be lagging well behind Boeing and its own record 626 aircraft deliveries in 2013.
Boeing, the world’s air cargo plane champion, separately announced Tuesday that Qatar Airways had finalized an order for four 777 Freighters in a deal valued at $1.24 billion at current list prices.
The airline also has options to buy four additional airplanes, bringing the deal to as much as $2.46 billion.
In December, Boeing announced a $12 billion share repurchase plan and a 25 percent hike in its quarterly dividend to investors, citing strong operating performance that was pumping out a significant cash flow.
The company has forecast robust demand for new commercial airplanes this year as aviation financing remains exceptionally liquid in a low interest-rate environment.
It pegged industry-wide deliveries in 2015 at about $124 billion, double the amount in 2010.
Dow member Boeing shares were down 0.9 percent at $127.92 amid a broad sell-off on Wall Street.
Boeing shares lost 2.7 percent in 2014 as investors worried about the high production costs of the 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Boeing is scheduled to report 2014 fourth-quarter and full-year earnings on January 28.