ANALYSIS: Widebody deliveries propel Boeing well ahead of Airbus

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Scrutiny of Airbus and Boeing’s airliner production last year by value highlights the significant effect that the differences in their current product offerings have on their revenue.

Between them, the rivals shipped 1,274 aircraft worth $174 billion at list prices in 2013. Boeing set a new industry record of 648 shipments, ahead of Airbus’s new personal best of 626 deliveries. Although this is a difference of only 22 units, the deficit in value terms between the rivals was over $18.5 billion at list price: Airbus’s 2013 shipments were worth $77.8 billion against Boeing’s $96.4 billion.

The driver behind Boeing’s earning advantage lies in its widebody production. Seattle’s 208 widebody shipments were worth an estimated $58 billion at list prices – 40% higher than Airbus’s 133 widebody deliveries worth $34 billion.

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Although Toulouse benefits from the high value of A380 shipments, deliveries of the double-decker remain relatively low at just 25 aircraft in 2013. Boeing, on the other hand, had the advantage of shipping almost 100 777s last year, as well as a further 110 747s, 767s and 787s.

Airbus’s big-jet production is currently powered primarily by the A330 (108 deliveries) following the cessation of the A340 programme. But the European manufacturer should start to feel some benefit from the A350 in 2015, if deliveries begin later this year as scheduled.

Airbus redressed some of the deficit in the narrowbody arena, delivering a record 493 A320-family aircraft worth $43.4 billion. Boeing’s lower production rates for the 737 put its full-year single-aisle tally at 440 deliveries worth $38.7 billion.

Airbus’s single-aisle production accounted for 79% by unit and 56% by value of its entire 2013 output. Comparative numbers for Boeing are 68% and 40%, respectively.

Last year, the two rivals secured net orders for 2,858 aircraft worth over $400 billion. Airbus took the honours, with its 1,503 net orders worth almost $215 billion being 148 units ahead of its rival. Boeing’s 1,355 net orders were valued at $186 billion.

The two manufacturers’ strong order performance has boosted their combined backlog over the last 12 months by almost a fifth to 10,639 aircraft, worth more than $1.5 trillion. Airbus holds a slight market share advantage (52%), but again it is the strength of its position in the single-aisle sector that puts it ahead of its US rival overall.

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The two manufacturers’ 2014 production outlooks differ significantly. Airbus has indicated it expects its output to be flat while Boeing is forecasting an almost 12% rise to between 715 and 725 deliveries. This double-digit increase will take the overall 2014 mainline airliner production tally to around 1,360 aircraft.