It says a lot about the health of the commercial airliner business when a likely combined orders tally of just under 1,000 jets for Airbus and Boeing in 2016 will be looked on as decidedly average.

As the year drew to a close, FlightGlobal’s figures suggested that the big two were closing in on hitting the four-figure mark, but this would still be a big fall from the 1,848 net orders they recorded in 2015. And given that 2014’s total was an astonishing 2,888, should the bosses at Airbus and Boeing be at all worried that the good times might be coming to an end?

Probably not, is the simple answer. With record order backlogs stressing their hard-working assembly lines and engine manufacturers battling to get new technologies and production systems to the desired levels of almost-perfect reliability, some breathing space – and even the odd deferral – could be welcome.

Any slowing in sales today is a problem for several years down the line, and the manufacturers appear on course to respectively better and roughly match their shipment totals from 2015. For the majority of their products, the build rate is moving only one way to clear the existing huge backlogs: up.

737 Max 8 - Boeing


Amid the more modest successes of 2016, the fate of deals for 180 jets to transform Iran Air’s fleet have yet to be sealed. Both firms must count on a final nod from US president-elect Donald Trump. No pressure…

Source: Flight International