Boeing said its net income rose 20% in the first quarter despite its troubles with the 787 jet.

The big airplane maker said it earned $1.11 billion, or $1.44 per share. Excluding pension contributions, Boeing would have earned $1.73 per share, well above analyst expectations.

Revenue fell 3% to $18.89 billion because Boeing delivered just one 787 before the plane was grounded in mid-January because of problems with its batteries.

Boeing said today that it will still meet its financial and delivery targets this year. That includes delivering at least 60 787s.

Production of the plane has continued, so once Boeing installs a redesigned battery system, it will be able to hand 787s over to customers relatively quickly.

The company delivered 137 planes during the quarter, because faster production of 737s and 777s offset the lack of 787 deliveries.

The quarter did not include any special charges for the 787 or for the automatic US government spending cuts that took effect last month.

Profit rose in Boeing's defence and commercial airplane units, even though revenue fell in both.

The 787 was grounded in mid-January after batteries smoldered on two planes, including a fire on one. Boeing has gotten clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration for a redesigned battery system that the company says should sharply reduce the risk of a fire. Once the FAA approves the fix on individual planes, airlines can start using them again.