Boeing's 737 Sales Go Boffo

For years, Boeing's 737 has been Boeing's most popular plane. Seems it still is... Image source: Boeing.

Aerospace juggernaut Boeing reports earnings on Wednesday this week, and good or bad, the news is guaranteed to shake the market. When a company with $100 billion in market cap publishes a major news release, it simply doesn't go unnoticed. For proof, just see what happened to the Dow Jones Industrial AverageTuesday, after United Technologies and IBM reported big misses...

Be that as it may, Boeing still has a business to run. In this brief calm before Boeing's earnings storm, let's take a quick look at how that business is going -- saleswise.

Boeing books itEvery Thursday, every week, Boeing updates investors on the status of its plane orders. Last week, Boeing shareholders were treated to the news that Boeing had just added 50 new single-aisle 737 jet planes to its order book -- its first reported orders in nearly two weeks. No particular customer was identified as the buyer, but whoever it was that ordered the planes, they've made Boeing's order book look a whole lot brighter as a result.

Here's how this year's numbers now look. Through mid-July 2015, Boeing has received orders for:

  • 271 single-aisle 737s
  • Fifty 787s
  • forty-nine 777s
  • a quartet of 747s
  • and one single Boeing 767.

That's 375 gross orders in all. Subtract 44 order cancelations year to date, and Boeing now has 331 net new orders through mid-July 2015.

Better and better-erPretty impressive, huh? And it's likely to get more so in light of Tuesday's announcement that Boeing has just finalized a deal to sell Taiwanese airline EVA Airways five Boeing 777 freighters for its air cargo business. Boeing notes that the deal is worth $1.5 billion to it at list prices, and marks EVA's first purchase of 777 freighters for its air fleet.

EVA does, however, have 20 777-300ER passenger aircraft in its fleet, a further 13 on order, and 15 more Boeing planes in active service, making the airline "one of the largest 777 operators in the world."

What's more, EVA intends to grow its air fleet a further 25% in size over the next 10 years, offering Boeing the potential to make even more sales to this profitable and growing company. According to data from S&P Capital IQ, EVA is a sizable operation boasting $4.3 billion in trailing revenues, net profits north of $51 million, and a $2.8 billion market capitalization.

But Airbus still beats BoeingThat said, let's not lose sight of the bigger picture. Even with the 50 single-aisle 737 orders, and even counting EVA's five freighters, Boeing has still racked up only 380 gross plane orders year to date, and held on to just 336 of those orders after cancellations. That's fewer gross and net orders than Airbushad accumulated as of three weeks ago. As of today, Boeing's still losing the orders race to its rival, and will need to step up its game if it's to turn this trend around.

Tune back in after Boeing reports earnings tomorrow, and we'll see what management plans to do about that.

One thing Boeing might try: Convincing its customers to quit canceling orders for 787s. To date, more than half of Boeing's 787 "Dreamliner" orders booked this year have been lost to cancellation. Image source: Boeing.

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Rich Smith does not own shares of, nor is he short, any company named above. You can find him on Motley Fool CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 338 out of more than 75,000 rated members. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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