Boeing said it took firm orders for 1,044 commercial aircraft in 2006, topping its previous record of 1,002 orders for the year before and likely beating European rival Airbus for the first time since 2000.
Sales were boosted by strong demand from European, Middle Eastern and Asian airlines, confounding analysts who had expected a slowdown in sales from 2005. Boeing was also helped by the outstanding success of its new lightweight 787 Dreamliner, which is set to enter service next year.
Airbus, dogged by production and management problems, has badly lagged Boeing in orders for the past 12 months, notching only 635 orders by the end of November. That company, controlled by EADS, is expected to report its full-year orders later this month.