NEW YORK — U.S. aerospace giant Boeing Wednesday reported higher quarterly profits and forecast another increase in commercial plane deliveries in 2015 thanks to strong demand from airlines. Earnings for the fourth quarter grew 18.9 percent to US$1.5 billion. The strong earnings came on the heels of a Boeing announcement in December that it delivered a record 723 jets, surpassing a previous record of 648, on rising demand from newer airlines in emerging markets and more seasoned companies replacing their fleets. Boeing projects commercial deliveries will rise to 750-755 in 2015.
��Strong growth in the commercial airplane market continues to drive demand that supports our planned production rate increase over the remainder of the decade,�� said Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney, on a conference call with analysts. Boeing has invested heavily in the 787 ��Dreamliner�� and other models that employ light-weight components that demand less fuel. While the drop in oil prices may lessen some of the pressure for greater fuel economy, McNerney said airlines have not shifted their investment plans and that lower oil prices boost airline profitability.