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Each year, Boeing (BA) and Airbus engage in a fierce order battle. In 2017, Airbus won that battle by numbers, but in terms of dollar value, which AeroAnalysis ultimately considers to be more important, Boeing easily outperformed Airbus.

For 2018, Airbus expects to maintain a book-to-bill ratio of 1. By looking at the orders, we can see a combination of willingness to commit, pricing, product, and availability come together. Special attention will be paid to the mix of single-aisle aircraft and widebody aircraft, knowing that a single-aisle aircraft costs roughly half or a third of a wide-body aircraft depending on the model.

In this report, AeroAnalysis will be having a look at the order inflow and deliveries for Airbus in July. The June report can be read here if you are a PRO subscriber, alternatively it is freely available to our Premium subscribers.

Order inflow July 2018

Figure 1: Orders Airbus July 2018

During the month of July, Airbus received a total of 8 orders:

  • An undisclosed customer ordered 8 Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

We can be brief about the order inflow in July; It was extremely disappointing. In July, Airbus announced 501 orders and announcements during the Farnborough International Airshow. After slicing and dicing the numbers, we got to 93 orders from 5 customers that we could reasonably expect to be finalized as they were announced as new firm orders. What the July order numbers, however, reflect is that out of 93 orders only 8 orders have been finalized, which is less than 10%, and there are no other orders that were finalized outside of the Farnborough International Airshow. This means that the remaining 85 orders announced during the show have not yet been completely finalized. Orders not being fully finalized but announced as firm are not uncommon since firm order announcements get added to the book once all contingencies are cleared, but booking just 8 new orders in the month of announcing 500+ orders and commitments and almost 100 firm orders, that’s pretty bad. It leaves big question marks about the credibility of Airbus’s press releases, which in hindsight and in my view have been highly dishonest and can be considered as putting out false information.

So far order numbers have not been blowing us away, but comparing the first 7 months this year to last year we observed that order inflow increased by 17 units and net orders improved by 9 units. Orders definitely are not the correct metric to measure current performance, but with all the negativity surrounding the Airbus A320neo program and slow wide body sales you would almost get the impression that Airbus is not getting any orders or at least less orders while the contrary is true.

Last year, Airbus received 4 orders in July which included widebody orders, while 10 orders were canceled. In July 2016, Airbus received 146 orders while 6 aircraft on order were scratched from the order book. Averaging the net orders for the previous two years shows that with 8 orders the net order inflow was far below the average of 67 orders in July.

For July, the list price of the orders was $2.5B, but after discount, this likely is closer to $1.2B.

During the month, Airbus silently added the Airbus A220 backlog to its books.

Deliveries in July 2018

Figure 2: Deliveries Airbus July 2018

For 2018, Airbus has set a delivery target of 800 units for native Airbus aircraft and 18 Airbus A220 aircraft in the second half of the year. In July, Airbus delivered 77 aircraft or 9.6 percent of the aircraft it expects to deliver in 2018:

  • Airbus delivered 1 Airbus A380 to Singapore Airlines (OTCPK:SINGY)
  • Airbus delivered 6 Airbus A350, slightly lower than the production rate of 10 aircraft per month (11 month cycle) that it hit in April on industry side. A higher load efficiency is expected towards year end.
  • Airbus delivered 5 Airbus A330 aircraft, which is in line with the production rate.
  • Deliveries for the Airbus A320 families were 19 current engine option aircraft and 44 new engine option aircraft.

Year over year, Airbus deliveries in the first 7 months increased by 27 units decreasing the gap significantly compared to one month ago when the decrease was 3 units. The increase can be attributed to backloaded deliveries from the start of the year being delivered in the second half of the year.

A320neo family deliveries increased by 3 units during the month, which can be considered a positive. Compared to the annual delivery target, Airbus closed the gap somewhat but we continue believing that a slight schedule slip on the Airbus A320neo program could result in Airbus missing its delivery target.

Book-to-bill ratio

For 2018, Airbus expects to maintain a book-to-bill ratio of 1. For Airbus, reaching desired book-to-bill ratios doesn’t seem like a big challenge, but there should be more emphasis on capturing more widebody orders in the mix, especially given the challenges Airbus is facing with the Airbus A320neo. Looking at the monthly book-to-bill ratios does not say a lot, but you have to start somewhere. In July, Airbus booked 8 gross orders while delivering 77 aircraft indicating a 0.1 gross book-to-bill ratio. In terms of value, this ratio was 0.25. For the first 7 months, the gross book-to-bill ratio is .71 and .88 in terms of value. The satisfactory order inflow during the Farnborough International Airshow, with the exception of 8 orders, was not visible in the July order tally.

Conclusion

In July, we expected to see an uptick in orders. However, after announcing 93 orders during the show, Airbus just logged 8 orders in its official order and delivery book and that is disappointing to say the least. We believe the remaining orders will be added to the book in due time, but we normally see the majority of the firm orders added to the book in the month of the airshow and having firm orders not being added to the book is more exception than rule. The order announcements during airshows are part of a big PR machine, but we rarely see inflation in the firm order numbers.

We are more confident in Airbus’s ability to push out enough single aisle aircraft to reach its delivery target, but we also need to point out that even the slightest of delays or new problems could dent the delivery target significantly. So Airbus needs a perfect second half of the year to reach its targets. Further delays will definitely result in missing the delivery target for 2018. In the coming months, in the absence of any new supply chain issues, we except backloaded deliveries to be reflected in Airbus single aisle delivery numbers.