At the conclusion of 2007, aircraft makers and industry analysts expected orders for new aircraft in 2008 to cool considerably. By many measures the global economy has slowed, yet the expected downturn in aircraft purchases has not materialized for airframers. Looking at the available numbers from Airbus and Boeing illustrate that not only have orders not slowed, but they are up sharply over the same period last year.
Take a look:
Boeing has booked 189 orders to date during 2008 versus just 70 for the same period in 2007.
Airbus booked 238 orders during January 2008 versus 97 during January and February 2007.
*Official Airbus data for Februrary 2008 unavailable
Earlier this week, Steven Udvar-Hazy spoke with Flight's Laura Mueller saying, "Starting from today, no more than 75% of the order book is rock solid. The rest is potentially flaky or could disintegrate rapidly to become flaky and would be subject to deferrals and cancellation.”
“Boeing and Airbus want to put off the day of reckoning as long as they can, but it is coming. Airlines will start looking in the mirror every few months and ask: ‘what can we really absorb here?’ Once those reality checks are done more frequently, we will begin to see some major adjustments on a macroeconomic basis.”
Even based on his assertion that only 75% of the order book is solid, orders still exceed the pace of the previous record setting year. Even with this blistering start to 2008, growing market worries will continue to leave the further pace of orders as an open question. Only time will tell.