If we take the latest numbers through the first half of this year we note that Boeing has moved decisively ahead in orders. Airbus is at 203 YTD compared to Boeing’s 421. What do the data suggest is going on?
Boeing’s twin aisles are selling better. The 787 is getting more orders than the A330. The A330neo program orders seem to have slowed considerably. For Airbus, in the twin-aisle segment, it’s all about A350. Even if Boeing is discounting the 777-300ER, they are still selling.
For the big duopoly, the story is always about single aisles, where they do most of their trading. In the first half of 2017, Boeing outsold Airbus. The 737-800 won 43 orders compared to the 25 A320s. In terms of the next generation, the MAX won 215 orders compared to A320 family NEO orders at 100.
However, this is a long cycle business. The first half of 2017 suggests Boeing is likely to win the annual race as they have a great start. Look at this chart though.
While Boeing is having the better year, it is still significantly behind Airbus in the single-aisle next-generation order race. The cumulative difference is about 1,350. With several model switches from -8 and -9 to -10, the MAX total order volume has not grown as quickly as it might have.
Incidentally, in terms of deliveries, Boeing delivered 236 single-aisle aircraft to Airbus’ 239. Airbus has four factories to Boeing’s one, making the Boeing Renton plant amazingly productive. And both OEMs plan to produce even more. What is noteworthy among deliveries, only 8% of Boeing’s deliveries were of the largest model. Airbus, by contrast, saw 40% of its deliveries in the largest model. This is a significant data point.
As we look at the order race it is important to realize this is not a sprint. And the breakdown of what the market is buying is important.