(Adds details about forecast, share price)
By Alwyn Scott
SEATTLE, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Boeing Co will deliver a record 754 commercial aircraft in 2015, an increase of up to 5.5 percent, the U.S. Aerospace Industries Association forecast on Wednesday, reflecting expectations of steadily rising production at the world’s biggest plane maker.
The Washington, D.C.-based trade group said its forecast is based on information supplied by Boeing, and comes amid concern that Boeing may have to cut production of some models to keep the assembly lines from running out of orders.
The AIA forecast of 754 aircraft next year, contained in the group’s 2014 annual report, is in line with Boeing’s current production plans, which call for about 752 deliveries in 2015. That suggest no reductions or major increases are in Boeing’s sights. Boeing has targeted 715 to 725 deliveries in 2014.
However, Boeing told Reuters the AIA report does not preclude the Chicago-based company providing a different forecast when it gives its 2015 outlook in late January.
Boeing said last week that it will cut the production rate of the 747-8 jumbo jet to 1.3 a month in September 2015 from 1.5 a month currently due to weak sales.
Analysts have suggested that Boeing also may have to cut production of 777 “mini-jumbo” jetliners to keep that line operating as it transitions to the next-generation 777X model toward the end of the decade.
At the same time, Boeing has been increasing output of 737 and 787 models. It is making 42 737s a month, and plans to increase production to 47 a month in 2017 and 52 a month in 2018. Boeing makes 10 787s a month and plans to increase output to 12 a month in 2016 and 14 a month by 2020.
Investors closely watch Boeing’s deliveries as a key measure of the aerospace company’s ability to generate cash flow and profits.
Boeing shares were up 0.01 percent at $124.26 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The AIA also forecast a 6 percent rise in overall U.S. civil aircraft sales in 2015, which would be slower than the 8 percent increase in 2014. The figure includes both commercial aircraft and private planes. (Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Christian Plumb)