Deliveries across the two mainline aircraft manufacturers’ production lines fell by more than half during the first four months to less than 200 aircraft, as the coronavirus pandemic began to have a major effect.

Airbus and Boeing delivered just 20 aircraft between them during April – including several that were military derivatives. Airbus shipped 14 aircraft – 12 A320 family aircraft and two widebodies (one A330 tanker and one A350). Boeing’s six April deliveries comprised five widebodies and one military 737NG.

Airbus/Boeing deliveries: Jan-April      
Airbus   2020   2019
A220 8 11
A320 108 183
Single-aisle total 116 194
Widebody 20 38
Airbus total 136 232
737 6 98
Widebody 50 74
Boeing total 56 172
Grand total 192 404
Source: Manufacturers  

For the four months of 2020 to date, total deliveries reached 192 aircraft, compared with 404 during the same period last year. This represents a 52% decline.

Overall, single-aisle deliveries have declined by 58% year on year, to 122 units. During 2019, the impact of the 737 Max grounding was already being felt as deliveries were suspended in mid-March. However, Boeing had completed 57 Max deliveries during 2019, prior to the suspension.

During the first four months of this year, widebody shipments were down 38% to 70 aircraft. Boeing – with single-aisle deliveries being largely military 737NGs and therefore at a trickle - had the lion’s share of the twin-aisle sector, delivering 50 of the 70 widebodies handed over during the first four months. Airbus is yet to deliver an A380 in 2020.

In 2019, combined mainline deliveries stood at 1,243 aircraft – significantly lower than originally forecast due to the suspension of the 737 Max programme. Boeing is hopeful it will be cleared to begin shipping Max aircraft during the second half of 2020. This uncertainty, along with the unknown coronavirus effect on both demand and the supply chain, make full-year forecasts extremely challenging.

Airbus has already implemented output cuts across its lines by around a third, which chief executive Guillaume Faury said last month would remain for “at least two or three months”. He added that Airbus did not expect to update or alter production planning before June.

BOC Aviation chief executive Robert Martin recently said he expected deliveries this year would be at “the lower end of the 600-1,000” range.