Boeing handily beat its own targets for 2012 orders and deliveries, the company confirmed with year-end data released Thursday.
The assembly plants are rolling out jets at an unprecedented rate, and sales soared to the second-highest level ever as orders for the 737 MAX climbed above 1,000.
Boeing delivered 601 jets in 2012. That is a record number of deliveries of planes designed by Boeing.
Ray Conner, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, sent a message to all employees Thursday morning lauding their "incredible accomplishments in 2012."
"You've demonstrated through your hard work and dedication that you are the best aerospace team in the world," Conner's message said.
The only higher delivery total was in 1999, when Boeing delivered 620 jets. But that included 59 planes built in Long Beach, Calif., inherited from the McDonnell Douglas merger.
The McDonnell Douglas legacy planes were discontinued and the Long Beach production lines shuttered completely in 2006.
In the 2012 delivery total, all but three planes were built in Boeing's Puget Sound-area plants. The North Charleston, S.C., assembly plant delivered three Dreamliners. Everett, Wash., delivered 43 of those new twinjets.
The Renton, Wash., plant alone delivered a record 415 of the 737 narrow-body jet family.
Jet sales also pushed boundaries in 2012.
Boeing booked net orders for 1,203 commercial jets, just 11 short of the all-time high set in 2007. Of those orders, 1,124 were narrow-body 737s, including 914 for the forthcoming 737 MAX variant, due to be delivered in 2017. The MAX firm order tally now stands at 1,064.
Boeing's remarkable resurgence should continue this year and beyond.
"We'll continue to focus on raising production rates and continuously improve how we build airplanes," Conner told employees . "We'll transition the 787-9 into production and flight test and continue working toward the 787-10X and the 777X."
"With a backlog of 4,373 unfilled orders -- the highest in our history -- we have huge opportunity ahead of us if we execute on our commitments," Conner added.
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