By Max Kingsley-Jones in London

Airbus leads deliveries, but cancellations hit orders

Airbus and Boeing had a healthy first quarter, with orders surging by 50% over the same period last year and output increasing by more than a quarter.

The two rivals secured 246 net orders in the first three months, compared with 164 last year.

Airbus and Boeing deliveries and orders W445
© Flight International

Boeing is the clear leader with 176 orders, against a net tally of 70 for its European rival. The big seller in the first quarter was the 737, with Boeing recording 116 orders – major deals included 30 for GE Commercial Aviation Services, 16 for Air Europa and 10 for Air China. Boeing’s 787 also had a good quarter, with 54 orders being signed, including confirmation of the 45 aircraft for Qantas.

Airbus’s first quarter was blighted by the cancellation of 20 orders, which dropped its tally from a gross 90 orders to a net 70. The bulk of the cancellations were for the A320 family, with the balance being for the A330.

Airbus’s narrowbodies led the way in orders as usual, but its second biggest seller was the new A350 twinjet, with 13 orders being added to the backlog as last year’s launch customers firm up their memorandums of understanding. However, one noticeable absentee is the Qatar Airways contract for 60 A350s – a deal that Airbus chief operating officer customers John Leahy had said would be signed before the end of last year.

Airbus remains the lead producer of airliners, but Boeing has narrowed the gap considerably since last year. The two delivered 199 aircraft, compared with 157 in the first quarter of last year.

Although Airbus’s output increased by 16%, Boeing’s has surged by 40%, putting its deliveries almost level with its rival’s.

The manufacturers’ combined order backlog is up over 50% over the same period last year, thanks to the record sales they both enjoyed throughout last year. Although Airbus remains in the driving seat, Boeing has clawed back market share over the last 12 months and is now holding 47% of the backlog, compared with 42% a year ago.

Source: Flight International