Airbus is facing the possibility of its A320 family being pushed into second place on full-year deliveries, for the first time since the 737 became Boeing’s sole single-aisle competitor.

Deliveries of 737s had been overtaken by the A320 family in 2002, when Boeing’s single-aisle line also included the 717 and 757.

But the cessation of 717 and 757 production left the 737 standing alone against the A320 in 2007. Boeing delivered 330 737s in that year against 367 A320s.

Both Boeing and Airbus have been hiking production rates and each is currently manufacturing 42 single-aisle aircraft per month.

Boeing has been closing the gap on its rival and a batch of P-8 aircraft handed to the US Navy enabled it to nudge ahead of Airbus in the first half of 2014 – even though Airbus regained its lead by the end of the year.

But the figures for the first six months of this year show that, even discounting six military P-8s, the 737 family out-delivered the A320.

Airbus has often managed to achieve a higher output differential in the second half than in the first, although this year it is having to contend with the initial cutover to A320neo manufacture.

Testing of the Pratt & Whitney-powered version of the A320neo has been held up by a technical snag with the PW1100G engines. But modified powerplants have been shipped by Pratt & Whitney and are “currently being integrated with the nacelles”, says Airbus.

The airframer expects them to arrive at the end of July and Airbus will resume flight-testing as soon as the engines are installed on the jet, it says: "We do remain on track to begin aircraft deliveries in 2015."

Airbus has committed to raising A320 monthly production again, to 46 in 2016, before pushing it to 50 in 2017.

Source: Cirium Dashboard