Airbus Trails Boeing In January Deliveries But Leads In New Orders

In January Boeing delivered 44 commercial aircraft units managing to beat rival Airbus which delivered 27 commercial aircraft units. Deliveries totaling 31 were from Boeing’s 737 line. The 787 line saw eight deliveries while the 777 line managed three deliveries. Both the 767 and the 747 lines each managed one delivery each.

Airbus on the other hand delivered 21 units from the A320 family, two A330s and four A350s. The European planemaker is currently grappling with engine issues related to narrow-body jets. The engines with the issues are being supplied by Pratt & Whitney. Deliveries are crucial for the bottom line of plane manufacturers as this is when the buyers pay a big chunk of the total cost.

Record deliveries

This year Boeing expects to see the number of deliveries hit a record high of over 810 commercial aircraft units. With regards to orders Airbus beat Boeing as it recorded 15 orders against 11 orders for the latter. January is usually a slow month for aircraft orders.

All the orders that Boeing received last month were for its 737 family. Seven of these orders were made by the U.S. Navy while three were made by a U.K. client.

This comes in the wake of the No. 2 airline in the United States, Delta, indicating that it wants the opportunity to test a mid-sized jetliner that Boeing could potentially build. Analysts have dubbed the plan the 797.

New plane

“You’re going to see us participate in Boeing’s middle-of-the-market campaign. I hope that we’re going to be a launch customer on that program as well,” said the chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian.

For the No. 2 carrier in the United States the 797 would replace its ageing fleet of 767s and 757s which operate on midrange international flights and long domestic routes.

It is estimated that it will cost between $10 billion and $15 billion to build the 797 according to aerospace analysts. Boeing has been holding discussions with over 50 potential customers with a view to refining the design and to enable executives develop a business case which they will present to the board of the planemaker.

With the 797 Boeing is aiming at a market gap that exists between the smallest wide-body aircraft and the biggest narrow-body. One version would have a capacity for 225 passengers and a range of around 5,000 nautical miles while another bigger version would have a seating capacity of 275 and a range of around 4,500 nautical miles.

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