Boeing ( BA) said it booked 1,044 orders for commercial aircraft in 2006, setting a record for the second year in a row.

Additionally, the Chicago-based company appears to have far surpassed rival Airbus on the order front. As of Nov. 30, troubled Airbus had reported just 635 firm orders for the year. It is scheduled to announce final figures for the year on Jan. 17.

The world's two principal aircraft manufacturers went in opposite directions last year. Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, scheduled to begin flying in 2008, has secured enough orders to become the most popular new aircraft ever. Meanwhile, Airbus suffered a meltdown, with significant delays in production of both its A350 and A380 models.

Boeing's order number is the company's best ever, surpassing its previous record of 1,002 orders in 2005. "Beyond the order totals, we are very excited about the breadth and depth of our 2006 order book," said Scott Carson, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a prepared statement. "We have secured significant orders from customers around the globe and across our product line as we continue to build a strong, well-balanced backlog."

For the second consecutive year, the 737 program achieved a record with net orders of 729 airplanes, surpassing the previous record of 569 set in 2005. Boeing also secured 157 orders for the 787 and 72 orders for the 747, the most 747 orders since 1990.