ANALYSIS: Airbus and Boeing break output and order records

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Airbus and Boeing between them look to have shattered delivery and sales records in 2013, securing an unprecedented level of orders and taking airliner output to a new high. Boeing’s 14-year old delivery record for a single manufacturer has also been swept away.

Boeing delivered 648 airliners in 2013, breaking the 620-aircraft industry record it set back in 1999. With Airbus also enjoying record production last year, 2013 saw the two rivals significantly raise the bar again in combined output beyond the 1,189 airliners they shipped in 2012.

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The 1999 high water mark for a single manufacturer’s annual output occurred as Boeing absorbed McDonnell Douglas after their merger. The US company’s 648 deliveries in 2013 represent an 8% increase on 2012, and was achieved despite the hiatus in 787 shipments during the first half of the year in the wake of the battery fires.

Boeing’s 601 deliveries in 2012 marked only the second time that mainline jet production broke the 600 aircraft mark. Airbus had a 620 aircraft delivery target in 2013 and Flightglobal estimates that it should exceed this. This would mean that Airbus also beats Boeing’s previous record, as well as its own (588 aircraft in 2012), and would put combined mainline airliner deliveries well beyond the 1,200 aircraft mark for the first time.

Industry sources indicate that Airbus is set to unveil a higher 2013 order tally than Boeing, which announced gross orders for 1,531 aircraft last year. The US manufacturer ended the year with 1,355 net orders, and the combined sales total with Airbus is likely to have beaten the 2,754 net order record the two manufacturers set in 2007.