Boeing Commericial Deliveries Best in Six Years

Boeing said on Thursday it delivered 441 commercial aircraft in 2007, its best performance in six years and up 11 percent from 2006.

The year tally is in line with Boeing's forecasts, and the highest since it delivered 527 planes in 2001. But it may fall slightly short of rival Airbus, which had delivered 410 aircraft in 2007 through the end of November, three more than Boeing at that time.

The U.S. plane maker flew 112 planes to customers in the fourth quarter, up 9 percent from 103 the year before.

Airbus, owned by aerospace company EADS, is expected to announce annual orders and deliveries later this month.

The deliveries tally is closely watched by investors and analysts as that is when plane makers receive most of the payment for a plane. Firm order figures, expected from Boeing later on Thursday, give a more forward-looking idea of market share.

For 2008, Boeing is forecasting between 480 and 490 commercial plane deliveries, as it ramps up production of some of its models, reflecting a surge in orders over the past three years.