Bleak future : Boeing hit by quality lapses, certification delays

Airbus leads commercial aircraft business for 5th consecutive year

-A Monitor Report Date: 01 February, 2024

Seattle : While American planemaker Boeing struggled to contain its latest crisis-the in-flight door plug blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9-Airbus enjoyed a successful year in 2023, dominating the commercial aircraft business. As per the data on 2023's jet orders and deliveries released by both manufacturers, Airbus was the world's top planemaker for the 5th consecutive year.

Airbus delivered 735 commercial jets in 2023, compared to Boeing's 528. Airbus won almost 2,100 net orders, a new record, versus slightly over 1,300 for Boeing. About 1,700 of those Airbus orders were for its successful A320neo and A321neo amily. That is nearly twice the orders Boeing won for its competing 737 MAX aircraft.

That data combined with the new sense of crisis at Boeing has produced a bleak outlook among industry insiders, as per reports.

With air travel now fully recovered after the Covid-19 downturn, demand for aircraft is at record levels while supply from the world's two major manufacturers is still well below pre-pandemic levels.

However, Airbus is gearing up. From delivering in 2023 an average of about 48 A320neo family aircraft per month, Airbus projects reaching 75 per month in 2026. Between Hamburg in Germany, Toulouse in France, Tianjin in China and Mobile, Ala, Airbus currently runs eight final assembly lines for those narrowbody airplanes. By 2026, it will add two more lines, one in Tianjin and another in Mobile.

For the widebody A350 jets, which averaged just over five deliveries per month in 2023, the 2026 target is 10 aircraft per month, added reports. The small narrowbody A220 aircraft, against which Boeing has no competing airplane, averaged nearly six deliveries per month in 2023, the 2026 target is 14 per month. In the narrowbody jet market, the Airbus lead looks unassailable, further mentioned industry insiders, as per reports.

In the second quarter of 2024, Airbus expects to deliver the first of a new extra-long-range model, the A321XLR. It is already taken orders for 550 of those, which airlines will use on international routes instead of more expensive widebody aircraft. Boeing has nothing to compete with the A321neo, never mind the XLR version.

Reports estimate the dollar value of the 2023 commercial jet orders at USD 153 billion for Airbus and USD 115 billion for Boeing. The aircraft deliveries from Airbus are estimated to be worth about USD 48 billion compared to about USD 39 billion for Boeing.

One spark of hope for Boeing in the data is that the US plane manufacturer managed to hold onto its historical lead in the larger widebody market. Boeing delivered 132 widebody aircraft to 96 for Airbus and sold 431 widebody jets to 278 for Airbus.

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