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Good News for Boeing

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US aerospace giant The Boeing Company (BA) has finalized an important order with Turkish Airlines for 70 Boeing single-aisle 737 aircrafts. The deal − considered as the largest Boeing order in Turkish Airlines’ history − is valued at $6.9 billion at list prices.

The order, originally placed in early Apr 2013, involves the purchase of 40 737 MAX 8s, 10 737 MAX 9s and 20 next-generation 737-800 jets. The deal also has options for an additional 25 737 MAX 8s.

This latest deal brings Boeing’s total number of 737′s ordered to date to 1,285. The company currently has over 3,100 unfilled orders for 737s. The 737 model is the company’s most up-to-date single-aisle jet that features the latest-technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines designed to enhance fuel efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort level.

The 737 MAX aircraft continues to gain traction owing to its 13% added fuel efficiency and lowest operating costs. Serving in more than 220 cities and 99 countries, Turkish Airlines remains positive on its long-time partnership with Boeing. The airline received its 100th direct delivery from Boeing in Mar 2013.  Turkish Airlines currently operates next-generation 737s and 777-300 extended range jets and has over 100 Boeing 737s and 777s on order.

Meanwhile, following a nearly four-month suspension Boeing finally resumed deliveries of its high-tech 787 Dreamliner jet. The company has delivered a new Dreamliner to All Nippon Airways Co., a unit of ANA Holdings Inc, marking the second year-to-date delivery. All Nippon plans to restart Dreamliner flights on Jun 1.

Boeing last handed over a 787 to an airline before Jan 16, when regulators halted all Dreamliners as two battery overheating incidents in Jan 2013 compelled all 50 Boeing 787 airplanes to be grounded. The 787 Dreamliner is the first passenger jetliner manufactured mostly of lightweight and environmentally friendly composite material.

The company remains on track to meet its goal of delivering more than 60 787s this year. Boeing has also boosted its production of the 787 to 7 per month, up from 5 per month previously. It expects to increase the rate to 10 per month by 2013 end and will make the first delivery at this new rate by next year.

Although recommencing deliveries will lower Boeing's profit margin in the near term, the first jet delivery with a redesigned battery system marks a crucial moment for the company. It will allow Boeing to generate revenues for completed sales of the jet.

This will also boost its cash flow this year and will ease its inventory level. The company registered weak free cash flow in the first quarter 2013 as inventory increased for continued production of new 787s.

Boeing currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks in the defense domain currently performing well are Erickson Air-Crane Inc. (EAC) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Wesco Aircraft Holdings, Inc. (WAIR) and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC), both with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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