By J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.
Boeing and Airbus delivered 77 and 49 commercial jets in September 2015, respectively, compared to 64 and 44 in August. In 2015, to date, Boeing has delivered 580 aircraft, ahead of Airbus’ 446. With this, Boeing strengthened its lead in the 2015 delivery race to 134 units, compared to 106 units in August and 82 units in July. In 2014 and 2013, Boeing delivered a total of 723 and 648 jets, respectively, compared to Airbus’ 629 and 626. Boeing was able to increase its numbers mainly due to the ramp-up in production of the 787 Dreamliner. Airbus will soon be ramping up deliveries of its A350 XWB and will gradually begin to close the gap in the deliveries race.
Boeing is expected to deliver 750-755 jets this year, while Airbus’ deliveries will only be slightly higher than last year’s 629 units.
In the orders race, Airbus extended its lead over Boeing with 107 net new orders, increasing its 2015 total net new orders to date to 815. During the month of September, Hungary-based Wizz Air, the largest low-cost carrier serving Eastern and Central Europe, firmed up of its commitment for 110 A321neo jets. According to Airbus, the agreement marks the biggest single order ever for the A321neo. Boeing booked orders for two 787s during the month of September, but also received a cancellation for two 737s. The company’s order book is therefore unchanged at 447 net new orders this year to date. In both 2014 and 2013, Airbus won the orders race with 1,456 and 1,503 net new orders, ahead of Boeing with 1,432 and 1,355.
In 2015, net new orders for both Boeing and Airbus will likely fall from 2014 levels, due, among other factors, to the sharp decline in the price of oil. Cheap oil makes it financially more attractive for airlines to keep operating older, less fuel-efficient aircraft.
With the recent jump in net orders in August and September, Airbus’ order backlog now stands at 6,755 jets (of which 5,502, or 81%, are A320 narrowbodies), ahead of Boeing with 5,656 (of which 4,243, or 75%, are 737 narrowbodies). While Boeing has begun to tap its backlog, Airbus’ order book keeps growing.
Both Boeing and Airbus are facing challenges going forward. Boeing needs to bridge the gap in production between its current-generation 777 (777F and 777-300ER) and the future 777X to maintain the current production rate. Another concern for Boeing is the slump in orders for the 747. Airbus faces challenges now that production and deliveries of the A350 XWB will ramp-up in the coming years. Another challenge for Airbus concerns the future of the A380 as the company considers launching a NEO and a stretch variant of the aircraft. In 2015, neither Boeing nor Airbus have booked new orders for their largest aircraft, the 747-8 and A380, respectively.