Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

hit a big bump in the third quarter, posting a 43% drop in profit for the period. The world's largest planemaker also cut its revenue forecast for 2003.

Boeing said its quarterly net profit was $372 million, or 46 cents a share, down from $650 million, or 80 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. The results included a previously announced pretax charge of 20 cents a share and matched analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. Revenue was $12.7 billion, down from $13.7 billion a year ago.

The company said its outlook wouldn't improve, echoing

similar comments from commercial carriers that are the lifeblood of Boeing's business. Boeing expects $50 billion in revenue for 2003, down from a previously forecast $52 billion, while operating margins are expected to sink to 6.5% from 8.25%.

"For 2003, the revised outlook reflects the severe and continuing downturn in the company's commercial markets, principally commercial aviation," said the company in a statement.

Investors reacted negatively to the news, sending shares down 3.6% to $31 in midday trading.

Boeing's earnings announcement was particularly notable for two reasons.

First, Boeing said that in 2003, for the first time in the company's history, its military and aerospace division, home of the F-15, will surpass the commercial division, home of the 747, as the largest chunk of its business. The trend is clear in the third-quarter release, which showed revenue for the military division up 7.6% to $3.8 billion, while commercial aviation revenue slid 34% to $6.1 billion.

Second, because Boeing says aircraft deliveries for 2003 will be between 275 and 285 deliveries, instead of a previously announced range of 275 to 300 deliveries, the company will ship fewer planes than rival

Airbus

for the first time ever.

Boeing has been hit with a raft of bad news of late. On Tuesday,

Delta

(DAL) - Get Report

announced that it would be deferring delivery of 29 Boeing planes until 2005. And last week, Airbus secured the year's largest jet order, agreeing to supply Britain's

easyJet

with 120 planes -- a contract worth an estimated $3.6 billion.

While missing out on the commercial contract, the company was awarded a $9.7 billion follow-on contract for 60 C-17 transports, which the military uses to ship soldiers to far destinations.