Boeing Co. said Tuesday it delivered 73 commercial airplanes in the fourth quarter for a full-year total of 290, up slightly from 2004 but still behind Airbus for a third straight year in the category that determines the world's No. 1 plane maker.
Boeing is hopeful of soon reclaiming the top spot after booming sales of its planned new 787 helped it secure a record 1,002 airplane orders in 2005, ensuring strong delivery numbers in the years ahead.
But its deliveries were up only marginally from 285 in 2004 and 281 in 2003, reflecting airline industry cutbacks after the 2001 terror attacks as well as the machinists' four-week September strike that cost it 30 deliveries last year.
Airbus reports its 2005 order and delivery totals later this month. It had 271 deliveries as of Sept. 30 and said in November it was on pace for 370 by year's end. The French-based airplane manufacturer also has said it would be close to Boeing in orders.
As usual, the bulk of Boeing's deliveries _ 52 for the fourth quarter and 212 for the year _ were for its single-aisle 737. The company's Seattle-based commercial airplane unit also delivered 10 widebody 777s, four 747s, four 717s and three 767s in the October-through-December quarter.
Boeing shares rose 33 cents to close at $69.10 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock is down slightly in 2006 after jumping 36 percent higher last year.