A little over 1,800 jets were on firm order by US airlines at the beginning of September, of which almost 750 were due for delivery through to the end of next year. According to the Airclaims CASE database, the 1,800 is split almost equally between regional jets (896) and the larger aircraft produced by Airbus and Boeing (911). US airlines account for 40% of the 4,570 jets on firm backlog worldwide.

Boeing is the most exposed, with over 500 orders held by US airlines, around a third of its order backlog. Some 270 of these aircraft were due for delivery over the next 16 months including 90 by the end of this year. Airbus is slightly less exposed with 400 orders from US airlines - just under a quarter of its total backlog.

Some 49 Airbuses, almost entirely narrowbody A320 family models, were due for delivery to US carriers by the end of this year, and a further 119 are due to be delivered next year. Over half of the 900 regional jets on order by US airlines are Bombardier CRJs (499), with Embraer ERJs the bulk of the remainder (358). Of these, 65 aircraft were due for delivery by year end. US airlines hold 70% of the two manufacturers' entire order backlog - 79% of Bombardier's orders and 63% of Embraer's. Fairchild Dornier has39 orders outstanding with US carriers.

Adding to Bombardier's woes is the fact that in contrast to Embraer it was in the process of ramping up regional jet output. "Given our views that airlines will go into a cash conservation mode, Merrill Lynch has reduced its delivery projections in the past week for Bombardier. We reduced CRJ deliveries in fiscal year 2002 and FY03 to 150 from 160 and 180 from 210 respectively," says Merrill Lynch senior analyst Ihor Danyliuk.

Source: Flight International