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Friday, 20 April, 2001, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Boeing's profits soar 112%
Boeing commercial airplane
Boeing: Flying high, especially its commercial airlines division
US aerospace giant Boeing has reported a surge in profits, buoyed by strong sales of commercial aircraft.

The company's earnings for the first three months of 2001 more than doubled from the same period last year when the company was hit by an engineers strike.

Profits rose 112% to $762m (529m), from $359m.

In Boeing's commercial aircraft unit, sales, at $8.4bn, were up 63% compared with the first three months of 2000.

'Solid position'

The company delivered 122 commercial jetplanes during the quarter, compared with 75 in the same period last year.

But sales of military aircraft, such as the F/A-18 Hornet, used by Nato forces during the recent conflict in Kosovo, were down.

"Boeing is in a pretty solid position unless we have a far worse economic downturn," said JSA Research analyst Paul Nisbet.

He said the company had a backlog of plane orders, which were helping it to ride the US economic slowdown.

However Boeing did admit that demand for new airplanes had lessened in 2001 "when compared to the strong levels experienced in the latter half of 2000".

'Sonic cruiser'

Boeing's dominance of the large passenger jet market has recently come under pressure from European rival Airbus, which last year announced plans to build the first "super jumbo".

Last month, Boeing said it was scrapping plans for its own very large plane in favour of a sleeker, faster jetliner.

The proposed "Sonic Cruiser" would fly at just less than the speed of sound, shaving an hour off US coast-to-coast flights, about two hours off trans-Atlantic travel and three hours off flights to Asia from the US.

Acquisitions

Boeing's chief executive Phil Condit has spent more than $25bn in acquisitions since 1996, adding fighters, satellites and a flight maps business.

"Boeing will have more business units, be more diverse in terms of where we work," he has said.

Last month Condit, a pilot who joined Boeing in 1965, announced that the company was to move its corporate headquarters out of Seattle as part of a cost-cutting programme.

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See also:

30 Mar 01 | Business
Boeing dumps plans for super jumbo
31 Oct 00 | World
Boeing's workhorse
21 Mar 01 | Business
Boeing to move out of Seattle
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