Strong December Fails To Lift Airbus Orders Above Boeing
Airbus announced its order tally for 2018, taking 747 net orders for the year, down 33 percent from 2017’s total of 1,109.
Even with a strong final quarter, including 386 orders in December alone, Airbus failed to reach Boeing’s net total of 893, giving the US company bragging rights after five years of Airbus topping the sales chart.
Boeing also beat Airbus narrowly on aircraft delivered, 806 to 800, after both companies suffered from supply chain problems during the year. The win stretched Boeing’s lead on commercial aircraft deliveries out to seven years.
Airbus reported an increase in its order backlog, to 7,577 aircraft, compared with 7,265 at the end of 2017, with the contribution from the A220 it assumed control of midway through the year standing at 480 at year end.
Deliveries in 2018 were up 11 percent to 800 aircraft from the previous year.
“Despite significant operational challenges, Airbus continued its production ramp-up and delivered a record number of aircraft in 2018,” Airbus president of commercial aircraft Guillaume Faury said.
“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.”
Production of several aircraft lines increased during 2018, especially the A320 family, with 626 delivered, up from 2017’s 558. Airbus delivered 386 of the upgraded A320neo series, against 181 in 2017.
The US and China A320 assembly plants contributed to the growth, with the Mobile, Alabama facility delivering its 100th A320 during the year. Mobile is now producing at a rate of over four A320s per month.
The Chinese factory in Tianjin also had a milestone in 2018 with its 400th A320 rolling off the assembly line.
With the addition of a fourth line at its Hamburg base, Airbus says it is on track to reach 60 A320-family aircraft per month by mid-2019.
In contrast, production of A330s dropped during the year, with the switch to A330neo production continuing. TAP Portugal received the first of those in November. Total A330 production was down from 67 in 2017 to 49 last year.
The lack of orders for the A380 superjumbo meant a slowing production rate, with just 12 delivered, down from 15 in 2017.
The A350 had a better year with 93 handed over to customers, up from 78.