Boeing said today that its net income this year will be bigger than it had expected as deliveries of commercial airplanes pick up.

Higher pension expenses hurt Boeing's third-quarter profit, but other measures for the big airplane maker and defence contractor were strong.

Profits rose in both its commercial and defence units and the company reaffirmed plans to deliver 585 to 600 commercial planes this year.

For the quarter to September, Boeing's net income fell 6% to $1.03 billion, from $1.1 billion a year ago.

he profit of $1.35 per share would have been higher by 18 cents per share if not for increased pension expenses. During the same period last year, it earned $1.46 per share. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.12 per share for the most recent quarter.

Revenue rose 13% to $20 billion as the pace of commercial airplane deliveries picked up. That matched analyst expectations.

US-based Boeing now expects to earn $4.80 to $4.95 per share this year, up from previous guidance of $4.40 to $4.60 per share. Analysts had been expecting $4.72 per share.

Boeing's commercial airplanes unit saw operating earnings rise 6% to $1.15 billion for the quarter. It delivered 149 planes during the most recent quarter, up from 127 a year ago.

Boeing delivered its first 787 jumbo jet last year and has been speeding up deliveries in earnest. It is also speeding production of its profitable 777. Revenue from commercial planes jumped 28% to $12.19 billion in the most recent quarter.

Earnings in Boeing's defence, space, and security unit rose slightly to $827m, while revenue fell 4% to $7.84 billion. Defence contractors in general have been struggling with tighter military spending, and the threat of more reductions to come, in both the US and elsewhere.