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Boeing delivered 161 commercial airplanes in the first quarter, nearly an 18 percent increase from last year, as it ramps up production to meet demand.

The company said Thursday that the deliveries included 115 next generation 737s, 24 long-range 777s, 18 787s and four 747s. The company delivered 137 commercial planes during the same period a year ago.

Its defense, space and security business delivered 46 planes and helicopters in the first quarter, including 10 Apache and 17 Chinook helicopters and a total of 11 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growler fighters.

Boeing and its competitor Airbus are building more planes than ever as carriers try to drive down fuel costs with newer, more efficient planes. Airlines in Asia and Latin America need more planes because more people can now afford to fly.

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Boeing has sped up production of the 737 and the new 787. It expects to deliver 110 787s this year, almost double what it delivered in 2013.

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