The Boeing 737 has now been overtaken as the most ordered aircraft in history after Airbus booked 400 additional A320 orders. As of the end of October, the Boeing website indicates that 15,136 737s have been ordered by airlines and other users, including governments. But the order book at Airbus has now reached 15,193, A320s making it the single most sought-after commercial aircraft family ever.
At the end of last year, Airbus was more than 400 orders behind Boeing, but the grounding of the 737 MAX has dried up orders for that airplane. In terms of deliveries, Boeing still leads the parade having delivered 10,563 737s versus 9,086 A320 family jets, having started in 1967, 21 years before the first A320 was delivered in 1988.
With 1,484 737s delivered before 1988, the delivery total since both aircraft have been competing now stands relatively even at 9,079 for Boeing versus 9,086 for Airbus. Any way one looks at it, this race is now virtually a dead heat. We expect a record delivery year for Boeing in 2020 as the MAX returns to service and the undelivered fleet is delivered in addition to newly built aircraft. But the continued strong sales of the A321 variants may provide Airbus with a long-term edge until the next generation of narrow-bodies arrives.