Boeing’s pain across both orders and production significantly impacts overall metrics in the mainline airliner sector 

Combined orders and deliveries across the two mainline OEMs plummeted in 2019 as the effect of the 737 Max grounding stymied Boeing’s single-aisle performance. The Boeing production hiatus also ensured Airbus became the new record holder for airliner production.

Overall, net orders at Airbus and Boeing declined by 50% on 2018’s total, to 822 aircraft while total deliveries fell by more than a fifth to 1,243 units. With Max activity effectively in limbo for the last nine months of 2019, Boeing’s total net orders across all its products declined by more than 90% to 54 units while deliveries were halved to 380 aircraft. For reference, the manufacturer’s guidance a year ago was to deliver 895-905 aircraft in 2019.

Boeing's Renton plant

Source: Boeing

The 737 Max crisis has blunted Boeing’s 2019 success and severely impacted wider industry metrics

Boeing delivered just 57 Max aircraft in 2019, compared with 256 in 2018. Overall, 737 deliveries fell to 127 aircraft (from 580 in 2018). As the sun set on commercial 737NG production, Boeing shipped 70 aircraft.

Max deliveries were suspended shortly after the Ethiopian Airlines accident on 10 March, and the grounding and ongoing crisis has blunted the airframer’s sales activities of the new 737 family. The Max net-order tally was significantly in the red, to the tune of 73 aircraft, as a result of cancellations.

Airbus enjoyed a slight rise in net orders last year, to 768 aircraft from 747 in 2018. It also powered to a new industry production record – taking the honours from long-time holder Boeing, with a total of 863 deliveries. The previous record of 806 deliveries was set by Boeing in 2018. The US manufacturer dropped behind Airbus in delivery terms for the first time since 2011.

Airbus/Boeing deliveries, orders and backlog

  2019 dels 2019 net orders Backlog* 2018 dels 2018 net orders
Airbus          
A220** 48 63 495 20 135
A320ceo 91 -8 66 240 10
A320neo 551 662 6,002 386 531
A330ceo 12 -10 38 46 9
A330neo 41 99 293 3 18
A350 112 32 579 93 40
A380 8 -70 9 12 4
Total 863 768 7,482 800 747
Boeing***          
737NG 70 22 40 324 -24
737 Max 57 -73 4,545 256 699
747 7 0 17 6 18
767 43 26 94 27 40
777 45 14 74 48 51
777X 0 -17 309 0 0
787 158 82 546 145 109
Total 380 54 5,625 806 893
G-TOTAL 1,243 822 13,107 1,606 1,640

* 31 December 2019. * 2018 A220 deliveries/orders data only comprises transactions since Airbus acquired control of CSeries programme, but backlog includes all outstanding orders. *** Boeing net orders calculated by year-on-year backlog changes and gross orders. Data includes corporate and military versions. Source: Manufacturers 

Toulouse enjoyed a slight increase across its A320 family in deliveries, rising to a new record of 642 aircraft. Airbus had improved sales across the A320 family – net orders rose by over 100 aircraft compared with 2018. The success was powered by the largest variant, the A321neo which added the new XLR variant during the year, with 476 net orders in total.

Despite its woes in the narrowbody sector, Boeing still has bragging rights in the widebody category. Seattle delivered 60% of the widebodies in 2019 and secured over two-thirds of the net orders. Its performance was aided by strong sales of the 787 and 767 freighter.

While Airbus widebody shipments continue to be shaded by its US rival, it can boast having the best-selling aircraft in the twin-aisle category last year with the A330neo, which took 99 net orders. However, Toulouse’s sales performance in the sector was contaminated by the decision to end the A380 programme, which resulted in 70 cancellations and dragged its widebody net-order total down to just 51 aircraft.

The overall backlog declined by 400 aircraft during the year, to just over 13,100 units. Airbus remains the market leader, having slightly increased its share of the backlog to 57% since the end of 2018.