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Boeing: Financing for airplane sales OK

Boeing Co. says lenders remain willing to finance airplane sales, leading to record aircraft production. A poll by the Chicago-based airplane maker found 70 percent of banks and financial institutions already lending to the aircraft industry expect to loan more this year, Reuters writes.

“Even factoring in current production rates by the major aircraft manufacturers, the global jetliner market is relatively tight today with demand for new, fuel-efficient airplanes outstripping supply,” a senior Boeing executive told an industry gathering Thursday in London.

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Boeing rolled 161 new airplanes off the assembly lines in the first quarter of this year, more jets than the same period last year. That increased rate contributed to a $965 million profit for Chicago-based Boeing Co. post in the first quarter.

Revenue at Boeing’s commercial plane unit rose 19 percent in the quarter. The business grew thanks to increased production rates on its 737 manufacturing lines. In April, the 737 program reached a production rate of 42 per month. Boeing hopes to increase that to 47 airplanes a month in 2017 to help feed a worldwide demand for the narrow-body jet.

The company’s much delayed 787 Dreamliner also showed progress, reaching a production rate of 10 per month — although only 18 were delivered during the first quarter. Still, that’s a major improvement over last year, when only one Dreamliner was delivered due to a worldwide grounding of the fleet over concerns about its lithium-ion batteries catching on fire.

Boeing has backlog of 5,100 airplanes on order with a combined book value of $374 billion.