CHICAGO ( TheStreet) -- Boeing ( BA) CEO Jim McNerney said the aircraft maker is "surprised" by the recent high left of demand for its aircraft and may further boost 737 production. "We were mildly surprised by the strength of the orders we've seen over the last quarter -- not totally, but mildly," McNerney said on an earnings conference call. He said the aircraft maker will review whether there is "opportunity beyond" previously announced plans to
take 737 production to 35 a month in 2012.
"It's hard to predict what we'll see in the second half
but many discussions are going on," he said. The principal impediment to increasing production is supplier capability, McNerney added. "If the market is there and the supply chain is committed and capable, you will see further movement." Earlier Wednesday, Boeing said earnings fell 21% on fewer aircraft deliveries, but the company beat estimates and reaffirmed its annual guidance. Net income totaled $787 million, or $1.06 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated $1.01. In the same period a year earlier, Boeing earned $998 million, or $1.41 a share. Revenue declined 8% to $15.6 billion. Analysts had estimated $16.1 billion. Boeing's operating margin was 8.4%. In the commercial airplane segment, revenue was $7.4 billion as aircraft deliveries totaled 114, down from 125 a year earlier, driven by seat supplier delays and reduced widebody deliveries. During the quarter, commercial airplanes booked 88 gross orders (including the impact of 20 removals), compared with five net orders in the same period a year earlier. -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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