As we get ready for the upcoming Paris show, both the big duopolies are doing their pre-show briefings. Typically the briefings focus on impending orders and what’s coming in terms of product innovation. The future is always more exciting, even if it doesn’t always pan out. But orders for future products do result, eventually, into deliveries, the more realistic metric of what is actually coming out of production line and entering service.
Orders are not unimportant, as they measure the success of programs, and set expectations around the industry for the success, or lack thereof, of an aircraft program. In the 1990s, Boeing won the majority of the orders between the two competitors, and led in deliveries from 1989-2002. Since then Airbus won the orders battle in most years, and was winning the delivery battle through 2011. But Boeing has out-delivered Airbus in recent years, increasing its narrow-body production rate – so winning the order battle doesn’t always mean you win the production battle in the short-term.
With that said, let’s take a look at what has actually transpired since the year 1974, examining actual aircraft deliveries. The following charts split deliveries into single-aisle and twin-aisle categories.
In Airbus presentations they focus on how consistent and reliable they are as a vendor by showing their delivery chart. Orders by nature are subject to greater cycles. Boeing’s deliveries have seen a larger degree of variance over the period. Does this suggest anything odd?
To get another perspective look at the actual delivery numbers as shown below.
Airbus has indeed delivered to what appears to be a more reliable rate. Or perhaps consistent rate is a better way of saying it. Boeing’s deliveries have lagged those at Airbus for a number of years but eclipsed Airbus in 2014. If we exclude freighters, Airbus has delivered more twin aisle aircraft than Boeing. Freighters are a distinct strength for Boeing and a weakness at Airbus.
As we get ready for the onslaught of positive news at the show about how the future has no sunset, clouds or rain, know that after the news fades it is deliveries that confirms how the order news plays out. Starting from a low base, Airbus has shown very consistent growth over its history. Over the same time frame, Boeing has also shown growth, but larger volatility. Will we see additional orders, or few orders at Paris leading to more volatility. Time, and the show, will tell.
It seems BBD will finally officially admit considering a 320/737 alternative, the CS500, we discussed a “while” ago 😀
Yes we suggested this in 2010…
I think its wrong to say its Boeing single aisle production rate that has made the difference, if you look at deliveries between A and B in single aisle they are almost identical. It also makes something of nonsense to say Airbus has 60% of the single aisle market when they cannot produce 60% of the single aisles.
What has made the difference are the 777 at 8.3 a month and the 787 at 10 a month. Add in a smattering of 767s for FedEx and the 747 production and you match the A380 production (3 or less per month and going to 1 likely)
I also do not agree on discounting freighters. Just because its a Boeing strength you do not discount it (do we also discount the A3809, A330 tankers?) 767 tankers in the future?
A330 production is ramping down, 787 is going up (14 eventually). A350 is ramping up but will take some time.
When its all settled they may be close to even again (though Boeing will be making the KC46 tankers at that point)
I had to do a double-take on your deliveries charts to realize that the top line on the Boeing chart is 100 units higher than the top line on the Airbus chart. It would have been more “comparable” to have them both on the same scale. Thanks for the good article.