(BA) Boeing Announces FAA Certification For 747-8

The Boeing Company (BA) received U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certifications for commissioning the new 747-8 Freighter. The FAA granted Boeing an Amended Type Certificate (ATC) and an Amended Production Certificate for the 747-8 Freighter, while the EASA also granted the company an ATC for the airplane. With these certificates, the program reaches the final stages of delivering the first 747-8 Freighter to Cargolux Airlines International S.A. in early September 2011.

The Amended Type Certificate acknowledges that the design of the 747-8 Freighter is compliant with all aviation regulatory requirements and will make a safe and reliable airplane. The airplane to date has logged more than 3,400 hours of flight testing along with ground, part, component, materials and other testing on its way to certification.

The 747-8 Freighter is the high-capacity versions of 747 that will help cargo operators incur the lowest possible operating costs. It is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 m) long; 18 feet and 4 inches (5.6 m) longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16% more space for cargo volume compared to its predecessor. That translates to four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets. The 747-8 Freighters will be powered by General Electric Company’s (GE) GEnx-2B engines.

Earlier, strong performance from the commercial airplanes business and stable core operations allowed Boeing to register a solid second quarter 2011. The company surpassed both year-ago results and Zacks Consensus Estimates. Boeing raised its earnings per share guidance range for fiscal 2011 to $3.90 – $4.10 from an earlier band of $3.80 – $4.00, riding on the back of encouraging numbers.

However, Boeing lowered its commercial airplane delivery guidance for 2011 to a range of 485–495, from 485–500 forecasted earlier. The reduction was due to lower planned deliveries in the second half of 2011 on development programs (especially 787 and 747-8 units).

The Zacks Consensus Estimates for third quarter 2011, fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2012 currently stand at $1.07 per share, $4.24 per share and $5.29 per share, respectively.

Boeing currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. Considering the fundamentals, we are maintaining our ‘Neutral’ recommendation on the stock. This is in sync with other aerospace and defense behemoths like General Dynamics Corporation (GD) and Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT).

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