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FLEET WATCH: Year 2009

Net orders hit lowest point in seven years but record high for Airbus and narrowbody deliveries

Airliner orders for the year 2009 ended at 656, down by 64% on 2008 and representing the lowest yearly volume of net orders in seven years. In fact, the net order total for 2009 was a massive 81% decrease on the year 2007 where an historical high had been reached in net orders with 3,425. Some 1,055 new orders came in during 2009, but were offset by 399 cancellations.

A low net total was recorded back in 2002 with net orders of 333, related to regional jet cancellations, reflecting the effect of the demise of the Fairchild Dornier 328JET and 728 programmes.

Overall, the order backlog ended the year 2009 at 7,831, down 682 on the previous year.


Airbus emerged as the leader in the 2009 order battle with 271 net orders for the year, followed by Boeing with 142. Bombardier officially entered the mainline aircraft market in March 2009 with a total of 50 orders for its narrowbody CSeries. The Canadian manufacturer also won the regional jet battle scoring 45 net orders against Embraer’s 16. China’s Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) entered the regional market in 2009 with its ARJ21 receiving 30 orders at the end of the year. In the turboprop market, French manufacturer ATR totalled 52 net orders, Bombardier 37 and Viking Air Limited 16 with its new version of the DHC-6 Twin Otter.

Narrowbody net orders totalled 435 for the year with Airbus in the lead with 207 orders for its A320 family aircraft, followed by the Boeing 737 with 187 and the CSeries with 50. Narrowbody net orders decreased sharply by 54% on the previous year, the lowest point in five years.

Widebody net orders came in at only 28, a significant drop of 94% on the record achieved in 2008. Airbus is again a clear market leader with 71 new orders recorded for the A330, A350 and A380, but they also suffered a net loss of seven aircraft from the Airbus A340 orderbook. Meanwhile, Boeing received 23 new orders for the 747, 767 and 777, but suffered 59 cancellations for its 787 programme resulting in Boeing’s widebody net order figure for the year of minus 36.

There were a total of 66 net orders for regional jets during the year, down sharply by 72% on the previous year numbers. Turboprop net orders stood at 127 aircraft, only slightly down from a net figure of 132 in 2008.


Europe is the region which experienced the highest number of net orders by customer in 2009 with 218 (397 orders minus 179 cancellations) representing a world share of 33%. In January 2009, Irish finance house Aircraft Purchase Fleet took over Air One’s Airbus order for 44 A320s, 12 A330s and 12 A350s, also ordering ten additional A320s in March. Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air ordered 50 A320s in July while Turkish Airlines (THY) placed orders for 48 aircraft, a mix of A319s, A321s, 777s and A330s. Lufthansa was the first air carrier to place an order for the CSeries with 30. Ireland based lessor Lease Corporation International is the other customer for the CSeries with 20 and they also ordered five A330s.

In South America, Chile’s LAN Airlines ordered 20 A320s, ten A319s and cancelled a single 777. In the Middle East, Qatar Airways ordered 20 A320s and four A321s, with UAE’s DAE Capital ordering ten 747s and eight 777s. In the Asia-Pacific region, China Eastern Airlines ordered 16 A330s while Vietnam Airlines placed orders for 16 A321s and two ATR72s.

China’s United Eagle Airlines placed the largest regional order of the year with 30 COMAC ARJ21s followed by American Eagles Airlines with 22 Bombardier CRJs. Spanish regional carrier Air Nostrum ordered 15 CRJs and ten ATR72s. The bulk of regional cancellations in 2009 came from China’s Hainan Airlines with 25 Embraer ERJ-145s, Brasil Rodo Aereo with 20 195s and Italy’s My Way Airlines with 15 CRJs. India’s IndiGo also swapped 30 A321s for the A320 model.


Orders for commercial aircraft in 2009 might have been low, but deliveries showed the highest figure in history. The total yearly deliveries of airliners has been on a continuous climb since 2003 and totalled 1,338 in 2009, an all time high.

A record figure of 774 narrowbody deliveries were completed during the year, an increase of 14% on 2008 as Airbus delivered 402 A320 family and Boeing 372 737s. It is also the first time since 1968 that narrowbody deliveries exceeded 700 units during the year.

The widebody market showed a growth of 13% on the previous year totalling 205 deliveries, the best performance since 1999. Airbus totalled 96 for its A330, A340 and A380 while Boeing delivered 88 777s, 13 767s and eight 747s.

Airbus delivered a total of 498 airliners in 2009, a record high for the manufacturer following on from four record years in a row. Boeing totalled 481 airliner deliveries, also a strong performance and their most productive in eight years, although the American manufacturer surpassed that delivery figure from 1998 to 2001.

Regional jet deliveries totalled 220, a 21% decrease on 2008 while 139 turboprops were delivered. Manufacturers Bombardier, Embraer and ATR delivered 147, 136 and 48 aircraft respectively.


This article was put together by Flightglobal Insight using the ACAS database.

NOTE: The analysis is on aircraft type basis and not on the end user application. For example, Boeing 737 figures might include BBJs. The Bombardier CRJ types are classified as part of the CRJ regional jet family.

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