The world’s dominant airliner manufacturers Airbus and Boeing have both separately recorded another record year for commercial airliner deliveries.
For Boeing, the US planemaker delivered 806 airliners of all models, a record which comes on the back of a mid-year production increase of its most common model, the 737, to 52 aircraft per month. Boeing says it delivered 580 737s in 2018, about half of which were of the new MAX model which features new engines and other improvements.
The balance was made up of six 747-8Fs, 27 767s including 10 767-2Cs which were transferred to Boeing’s defence business for conversion to KC-46A tankers for the US Air Force, 48 777s, and 145 787s.
Not included in the total were 16 737-based P-8A/I Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft which are built on a line parallel to the commercial 737 line at Renton in Seattle.
“Boeing raised the bar again in 2018 thanks to our teammates’ incredible focus on meeting customer commitments, and continuously improving quality and productivity,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & CEO Kevin McAllister said in a January 8 statement.
“In a dynamic year, our production discipline and our supplier partners helped us build and deliver more airplanes than ever before to satisfy the strong demand for air travel across the globe.”
VIDEO – A Boeing corporate video celebrating its 2018 commercial aircraft highlights.
Boeing’s result just pipped that of rival Airbus, which delivered a total of 800 commercial airliners in 2018.
In 2018, the 16th year in a row that Airbus has reported an increase in commercial aircraft deliveries, Airbus deliveries comprised:
- 20 A220s since the former Bombardier C Series became part of the Airbus family in July 2018;
- 626 A320 Family (vs 558 in 2017), of which 386 were A320neo Family (vs 181 NEOs in 2017);
- 49 A330s (vs 67 in 2017) including the first three A330neo in 2018;
- 93 A350s (vs 78 in 2017);
- 12 A380s (vs 15 in 2017).
“Despite significant operational challenges, Airbus continued its production ramp-up and delivered a record number of aircraft in 2018. I salute our teams around the globe who worked until the end of the year to meet our commitments,” said Guillaume Faury, president Airbus Commercial Aircraft, in a January 9 statement.
Boeing wins sales race
Boeing recorded a net orders total of 893 commercial aircraft in 2018, valued at US$143.7bn (A$205bn) at list prices, a figure well ahead of Airbus’s 747 net orders.
This total included 675 net orders for the 737 which saw the 737 MAX surpass the 5,000-order mark. The 787 recorded 109 orders in 2018 taking its total to about 1,400, while the 777 logged 51 orders which saw it pass the 2,000-order milestone.
“We are honoured that customers around the world continued to vote for the unmatched capabilities of Boeing’s airplane and services portfolio,” Boeing’s senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing, Ihssane Mounir said.
“In addition to the ongoing demand for the 737 MAX, we saw strong sales for every one of our twin-aisle airplanes in a ringing endorsement of their market-leading performance and efficiency.
“More broadly, another year of healthy jet orders continues to support our long-term forecast for robust global demand that will see the commercial airplane fleet double in 20 years.”
Despite lagging behind Boeing in the sales race, Airbus said that at the end of 2018, its commercial aircraft backlog reached “a new industry record” of 7,577 aircraft, including 480 A220s, compared with 7,265 at the end of 2017.
With the delivery of 800 commercial aircraft in 2018, Airbus sets another record with deliveries up for the 16th year in a row. Last year's 747 net orders bring our backlog to 7,577 aircraft, an industry record. https://t.co/9GCP4oHJwk pic.twitter.com/4idJilXxCy
— Airbus (@Airbus) January 9, 2019
“I am equally pleased about the healthy order intake as it shows the underlying strength of the commercial aircraft market and the trust our customers are placing in us. My gratitude goes out to all of them for their ongoing support.” Guillaume Faury said.
“As we look to further increase our industrial efficiency, we will continue making the digitalisation of our business a key priority.”
Airbus says its A320 program is on track to achieve a production rate of 60 aircraft per month by mid-2019, while the A350 widebody twin achieved its targeted rate of 10 aircraft per month in 2018.