Last week, in its weekly tally of airplane orders received and canceled, Boeing confirmed one of the latter after an unidentified customer canceled an order for one single Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The good news, though, is that this week -- Thursday, to be precise -- Boeing made up that loss, and then added a new order, when another "unidentified customer" placed an order for two more 787s.
Result: As of today, Boeing is now positive on Dreamliner orders for the year, with a net order of one.
The Seattle plane maker has also booked orders for five new 737 single-aisle aircraft, placed by Japanese airline All Nippon Airways, with the result that its order book for the year to date stands at:
- 737s ordered: 5
- 787s ordered: 1
- Other jets ordered: 0
Liftoff? No, thanks. We're just taxiing
It's been a slow start to the year for Boeing. Far slower than the start Boeing got off to last year, when by mid-February, it had already racked up 33 orders for 737s, four orders for 777s, and (coincidentally) a single 787 Dreamliner order.
But let's put these numbers in context: Even the 38 orders that Boeing booked in the first 1.5 months of last year -- 33 after cancellations -- amounted to just 2.3% of the total 1,432 net new orders that Boeing would go on to book over the course of the year.
Let me say that again: 12.5% of the year; 2.3% of the orders booked in the year. Clearly, January and February are not the hottest months in which to try to sell airplanes.
The tally over at Airbus bears this out, with Boeing's archrival recently confirming that it booked all of five new orders -- all for A330-200 jetliners -- in the month of January. Statistically, Boeing and Airbus are in a dead heat right now; neither one has yet gotten off the ground.
What it means to investors
But that's OK. Remember, at year-end 2014, Boeing still had 5,789 airplanes left to build in its backlog. Even with planned increases in production, it's going to take Boeing more than seven years of hard work to get all those planes out the hangar door. Against this backdrop, a couple of seasonally slow months "don't signify," as Jack Aubrey might have said.
It won't prevent Boeing from achieving its goals of generating $94.5 billion to $96.5 billion in revenues this year, of earning $8.10 to $8.30 per share in profits on those revenues, or of generating operating cash flow of $9 billion -- or of thrashing the stock market's returns in 2015.