(BA) Boeing Announces 747-8 Set for First Delivery

The Boeing Company (BA) announced that it will deliver its first 747-8 Freighter to Cargolux Airlines International S.A. on September 19, 2011 at Paine Field in Everett, Washington. Cargolux will also take delivery of the second 747-8 Freighter on September 21, 2011. The carrier has ordered 13 747-8 airplanes on Boeing.

This new 747-8 model only retains the iconic shape of the first 747, but is by far more advanced than the initial 747’s rolled out from Boeing’s factory. The latest from Boeing features cutting-edge breakthroughs in aviation technology, akin to the 787 Dreamliner, featuring new wings, a brand new body and engines. Consequently, the airplane would improve upon fuel efficiency by 16% and reduce carbon emissions by another 16%.

The 747-8 Freighter is the high-capacity version of 747 that will help cargo operators incur the lowest possible operating costs. It is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 m) long and 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 the 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, $4.25 per share and $5.30 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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