Continuing consolidation of the commercial aircraft industry is firmly on show in this year’s World Airliner Directory, with Bombardier having exited our first instalment, which covers mainliner types with a minimum seating capacity for greater than 100 passengers.
What was once the Canadian airframer’s flagship CSeries has been subsumed under the Airbus banner, now opening our listing as the A220. While some were doubtful of the European giant’s motives in assuming control of the Bombardier product, early fresh commitments under its leadership and a first delivery to a US carrier – Delta Air Lines – mean that the single-aisle’s prospects are on the up.
Boeing’s 737 Max programme has also starred during 2018, with deliveries steadily accelerating from its Renton assembly line, where combined output for the re-engined type and outgoing NG model now stands at a rate of 52 per month. The rush of Boeing narrowbodies has, however, placed increased pressure on the company’s supply chain, including the provision of CFM International Leap-1B engines.
However, such disruption has been more harshly felt by its European rival, Airbus. With monthly output approaching 60 A320- family aircraft from its four assembly lines in France, Germany, the USA and China, the company has suffered problems in both the performance and supply of Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines.
GOING THE DISTANCE
Highlights so far this year have included first deliveries of the 787-10 and an ultra-longrange version of the A350-900 – both to Singapore Airlines – and the Dreamliner’s nonstop debut between Perth and London Heathrow for Qantas.
Going up in scale, Airbus received a topup, 20-unit order for the A380 from its biggest proponent, Emirates, and has seen a first secondhand example, previously leased by SIA, enter use with Portuguese wet-lease operator Hi Fly. And while Boeing’s 747-8I appears to have reached the end in terms of airliner orders, its freighter variant, the -8F, has secured crucial backing from UPS Airlines, with a deal for 14 safeguarding production through the end of the decade.
Meanwhile, new versions of top-selling models are advancing, with the A330neo ready to enter service in its -900 guise and the 777-9 having entered static testing ahead of a flight debut during 2019.
Airbus (718) and Boeing (763) delivered almost a combined 1,500 commercial aircraft last year, and their firm backlogs represent around nine and seven years of production each, continuing a downturn-defying trend. Our data shows how airline commitments are shared between them and other manufacturers.