SEATTLE TheStreet) -- Surging Boeing says demand for aircraft is growing, as well as its share price. This year's Dow leader said Friday it will accelerate planned production rate increases for both the 777 and the 747-800 as the world's airlines participate in the economic recovery. Ten days ago, Boeing
signaled the production schedule change. Instead of boosting 777 production from five aircraft to seven aircraft per month in early 2012, Boeing will make the change in mid-2011. That will diminish by six months the impact of a planned cutback from seven to five aircraft, scheduled to take place this June. Also, instead of boosting production of the 747-800 cargo aircraft from 1.5 to two per month in mid-2013, Boeing will make the change in mid 2012. "We see 2010 as the year of overall economic recovery within the industry, and 2011 a year where airlines return to profitability," said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a prepared statement. "As a result, we anticipate an increase in demand for airplanes in 2012 and beyond." On Thursday, Boeing shares rose 2.2%, leading the Dow up as the company has done all year, during which the airplane maker's shares are up about 27%. The shares opened in January at $55.72 and closed Thursday at $70.87. At midmorning Friday, shares were up $1.47 to $72.34. Thursday's increase followed a series of upgrades and favorable comments by analysts including Carter Leake of Davenport Research, who initiated coverage with a buy rating and an $82 target price. In a report, Leake wrote that during the past two years, "Boeing launched two game-changing airplanes (787 and 747-800) and maintained production rates during the worst downturn in airline history, and as light appears on the horizon, they are now emerging with arguably the most competitive mix of NextGen and NearGen platforms in their history. "Investors should view the 787's extreme challenges as a very deep, technological moat that Boeing has crossed but others have not." Leake said Airbus "is still treading water in two other moats with the A380 and the A400M, and we see the addition of a third, bet-the-company platform, the A350, as pressing Airbus to its very limits."
Meanwhile, the market for the two company's most popular airplanes, the 737 and the A-320, remains strong. "While Boeing and Airbus don't want to flaunt it, the reality is the 737 and the A320 are the only two aircraft in the world capable of meeting the majority of the world's air transportation needs for the next decade," Leake wrote. Despite the glow around Boeing, Macquarie Securities analyst Rob Stallard sounded a note of caution on Friday, saying "we are reluctant to chase the stock at current levels, and would be looking for a better entry point to get back on board." -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. .