New York - US aerospace and defense giant Boeing raised its 2014 profit outlook Wednesday despite a first-quarter profit slide, citing strong demand for its new commercial airplanes.

A sharp rise in pension expenses amid a change in the company's retirement plans in the January to March period offset strong commercial aircraft deliveries, as airlines seek to renew aging fleets with more fuel-efficient jetliners.

Boeing posted net profit in the first quarter of $965 million, a decline of 12.7 percent from the year-ago quarter, but more than analysts expected.

Core earnings per share came in at $1.76, three cents higher than a year ago and well above the $1.56 estimate.

Boeing said it was a “strong” first quarter and raised its 2014 profit forecast to between $7.15 and $7.35 per share, from $7.00 to $7.20, to reflect a tax settlement.

It confirmed its outlook for revenue, operating cash flow and deliveries.

“Our outlook for the full year remains positive on the strength of demand for our fuel-efficient new commercial airplanes, our solid position in global defense, space and security markets, and our enterprise focus on meeting customer commitments, improving productivity and profitably delivering the growth in our sizable backlog,” said Boeing chairman and chief executive Jim McNerney.

Shares in Dow member Boeing jumped 2.2 percent to $130.40 in pre-market trade. - Sapa-AFP