Airbus has solid first quarter but Boeing suffers dramatic decline as cancellations hit
There were mixed fortunes for the two mainline jet manufacturers during the first quarter of 2020, but the overall trend was in the wrong direction amid a declining economic outlook.
Buoyed by a strong start to the year, Airbus ended the quarter with 290 net orders and 122 deliveries. Toulouse’s performance was aided by keeping cancellations to just 66 aircraft.
Boeing on the other hand continued to suffer the effects of the Max grounding, which hampered its delivery performance and stymied single-aisle sales. This meant it shipped just 50 aircraft in total during the first three months, putting the OEMs’ combined tally at 172 deliveries.
|Airbus and Boeing deliveries and orders during Q1 of 2020|
Backlog at 31 March 2020
Data includes corporate and military versions
*Boeing data excludes additional 160 orders (141 737, 4 747, 14 777 and 1 787) removed from backlog in quarter 1 to comply with “ASC 606” accounting requirement. This, plus an additional 219 orders previously removed due to ”ASC 606”, reduces backlog to 5,049 aircraft
Source: Manufacturers/Flight International analysis
For Seattle, a calamitous situation with orders saw cancellations afflicting almost every product line, but concentrated on the Max. As a result, despite gross sales of 49 aircraft, overall net orders for the quarter were in the red to the tune of 147 aircraft.
However, the company has also rowed back from another 160 orders under “ASC 606” accounting requirements. These are still contracted orders but with customers whose current status has reduced Boeing’s confidence that they will be completed. The airframer had previously removed 219 orders due to ”ASC 606” accounting, putting the entire deficit to the current firm backlog at 379 aircraft.
All told, Boeing ended the quarter with a negative net order tally to the tune of 307 aircraft. This drove down the overall mainline jet order tally for the quarter to -17 aircraft.
At the end of the quarter, Airbus and Boeing’s combined order backlog stood at around 13,000 aircraft, with Airbus in charge on 58% market share (7,650 aircraft).
While the Boeing move potentially sidelines a weaker chunk of the orderbook, the grim outlook caused by the coronavirus pandemic indicates that this is likely to be just the start. So although a backlog representing over seven years of production looks ostensibly healthy, there is growing concern over the likely level of orderbook restructuring at Airbus and Boeing as their customers inevitably respond to the global crisis.
Article updated to correct table note about Boeing backlog adjustment after ASC 606 order removals