In this report, we will have a look at the orders and deliveries as well as cancellation activity for Airbus during the month of April. While the report seems to be a simple summarizing piece, I spent a considerable amount of time to get all data right and present it in a useful way, including graphics, and we uniquely provide market value estimates contrary to list prices. Subscribers of The Aerospace Forum are given access to a fully interactive infographic built on order and delivery data of Airbus and Boeing. If you are interested in reading Airbus’s monthly overview for March, you can check it out here.
AeroAnalysis has been tracking the monthly order inflow for Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY) aircraft for a couple of years. For long-term investors, a single month doesn’t mean much. Indeed, a single month does not make a trend, but by closely tracking the order and cancellations activity, we always will be a step earlier in detecting trends and will have detailed insight into customers’ appetite to order and take delivery of aircraft, and we can even track it by type as well as the jet maker’s ability to reach any set sales target.
Looking at the orders, we can see a combination of willingness to commit with pricing, product, and availability coming together. Special attention will be paid to the mix of single-aisle aircraft and wide-body aircraft, knowing that a single-aisle aircraft costs roughly half or a third of a wide-body aircraft, depending on the model.
Airbus orders in April
After booked orders for 60 aircraft last month; Airbus booked orders for 9 aircraft in April, 9 single aisle jets and 0 wide body aircraft:
- Avolon ordered 8 Airbus A320neo and 1 Airbus A321neo aircraft.
During the month, the following changes and cancellations took place:
- CMDB Financial Leasing and Loong Air were identified as customers for 1 Airbus A320neo aircraft each.
- Aviation Capital Group converted orders for 4 Airbus A321neo aircraft to 4 Airbus A320neo aircraft.
- Air Lease Corporation converted orders for 4 Airbus A320neo aircraft to 4 Airbus A321neo aircraft.
- Pegasus Airlines converted orders for 7 Airbus A320neo aircraft to 7 Airbus A321neo aircraft.
- SMBC Aviation Capital converted orders for 3 Airbus A320neo aircraft to 3 Airbus A321neo aircraft.
- AerCap transferred 10 orders for the Airbus A330-300 to an NL-registered entity of the company.
The order from Avolon reflects the lessor’s reprofiling of 9 deliveries initially scheduled for 2020-2021 to 2027. So, these are very long-term orders that go in the books now.
Airbus booked 9 orders during the month and 0 cancellations, bringing the net orders for the month to 9 units. The gross orders for the month are in line with the 5 orders last year. Year-to-date, net orders stand at 299 vs. -58 last year. So, net orders are still higher but with COVID-19 having a chilling effect on demand for aircraft I don’t think higher orders in the first four months of the year are reflective of what the full-year 2020 will look like since Airbus has been leaning on a single strong month in orders.
Airbus deliveries in April
For 2020, the European jet maker expected 880 deliveries. However, amidst the COVID-19 outbreak resulting in significantly lower near-term demand for aircraft, Airbus has removed its financial guidance as well as its delivery target while slashing production rates for the Airbus A320 to 40 aircraft per month, two aircraft per month for the Airbus A330 and six aircraft per month for the Airbus A350.
In April, Airbus delivered 14 aircraft:
- No Airbus A220 deliveries occurred.
- Airbus delivered 12 Airbus A320 aircraft, 0 Airbus A320ceo family aircraft and 12 Airbus A320neo family aircraft.
- Airbus delivered one Airbus A330 aircraft, which seemingly was an intra-company delivery for tanker conversion.
- Two Airbus A350-900s but no Airbus A350-1000s were delivered.
- No A380 deliveries occurred.
What we see is that, as expected, the delivery profile has been dented significantly. As airlines around the world have more or less temporarily ceased operations there no longer exist a demand or financial base to accept deliveries. Compared to April last year, deliveries decreased by 56 units representing $3.5B in delivery value. This directly reflects the industry crisis. Year-to-date deliveries decreased by 42%. Important to keep in mind is that the lower delivery volumes also reflect significant challenges to produce and hand over the aircraft to customers as there are significant logistic challenges due to COVID-19 regulations.
The book-to-bill ratio typically is expressed in terms of gross units by jet makers. This also is the number we show in the infographic. However, it should be taken into account that cancellations and conversions also take place. For April, the gross ratio was 0.6 in terms of units and 0.5 in terms of value. This, however, is one of the moments when a book-to-bill in excess of one is not meaningful as it achieved by a blow to deliveries and weak order inflow. So, book-to-bill is not always an indicator of strength and that should be kept in mind.
Year-to-date the gross book-to-bill ratio is 2.7 on a unit basis 2.3 on a value basis. Those book-to-bill ratios are declining showing that gradually, the impact of the strong start of the year is tapering.
Airbus April orders and deliveries: Deliveries reflect industry shock
During the February order and delivery coverage, I pointed out that the February orders did not yet show any COVID-19 related impact. March still showed 60 gross orders from AerCap but increasing cancellations and April merely showed 9 orders schedules for delivery in 2027. We are not seeing huge eliminations in the order book, because the first step airlines and lessors will be taking is deferring deliveries and that is not reflected in the order book changes.
Deferrals are expected for the months to come and Airbus has reduced production rates accordingly. We are currently seeing a lot of uncertainty, but it does seem that after years of growth Airbus and Boeing are recalibrating for a new reality. Pressure will exist throughout the year and likely much of 2021, if not longer. How the demand profile looks over the 12-month period is unknown, even beyond that point there is a lot of uncertainty regarding demand as the near-term financial impacts could spark a financial and economic downturn that could take years for airlines to recover from, but how that plays out is going to depend on how well countries are battling COVID-19. For now, we are primarily seeing a sharp reduction in deliveries but, we are expecting that the full year will also show a decline in order inflow.
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