Boeing plane deliveries accelerate in 3Q

CHICAGO — The Boeing Co. said it delivered 170 commercial planes during the third quarter as deliveries accelerated for three of its most important planes.

Compared to the same period last year, deliveries sped up for its smaller, workhorse 737, its long-range best-seller 777, and its new 787.

The pace of deliveries so far this year slowed for its super-jumbo 747, which has been a slow seller, and its 767, which is in declining use as a passenger jet but will be the basis for an aerial refueling tanker Boeing is making for the U.S. Air Force.

For the quarter, deliveries included 23 787s, bringing its total for the year so far to 40. Deliveries were halted for several months because of problems with its lithium batteries, but Boeing has said it still expects to hand over at least 60 of those planes this year.

Boeing delivered four 747s during the quarter, half as many as during the same period last year. It has slowed its production line for those planes because demand has been less than it had hoped.

Boeing has said it expects to deliver 635 to 645 commercial planes this year. Its total as of the end of September was 476, compared to 436 at the same time a year earlier.

Boeing’s defense unit delivered 15 Chinook cargo helicopters and 12 jets in the F-18 fighter family. It also delivered 11 Apache combat helicopters.

Boeing shares fell $2.52, or 2.1 percent, to $115.32 in midday trading. They have fallen 4 percent since hitting a 52-week high of $120.38 on Sept. 19.

Investors have become worried about the impact of the federal government shutdown on the company. Some of Boeing’s planes — including 787s made at its new facility in North Charleston, S.C. — need a sign-off by workers from the Federal Aviation Administration before they can be delivered, and those workers have been furloughed. That facility makes slightly more than two planes per month, so a short shutdown wouldn’t automatically delay deliveries.

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