Today Airbus delivered its 7,000th aircraft, an A321, to US Airways. The airline operates the largest fleet of Airbus aircraft in the world. This milestone comes just two years after the delivery of Airbus’ 6,000th aircraft.
Airbus’ first delivery was an A300B4 to Air France. The 1,000th Airbus delivery was an A340-300 that went to Air France in 1993, nineteen years after the first Airbus aircraft was delivered. The 2,000th delivery was six years later in 1999. It took just three years to get to the 3,000th delivery in 2002 and three more years to reach 4,000 deliveries. The tempo kept going up; it took Airbus only two years to hand over its 5,000th aircraft, an A330-200 to Qantas in December 2007. The 6,000th Airbus was an A380 which was delivered to Emirates in January 2010.
Why the focus on numbers? Because we are entering the delivery war – the backlogs are huge and customers want the newest models with fancy new engines. To get there both Airbus and Boeing have to whittle away at their backlogs. For now, even as Boeing is having a great year end, Airbus looks like delivering faster and getting its customers those re-engined planes first.