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For a couple of years, AeroAnalysis has been tracking the monthly order inflow for Boeing (BA) and Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY) aircraft. The monthly coverage is not so much there to invoke any Boeing vs. Airbus rhetoric, but it gives us some valuable insights.

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.

In this report, we will have a look at the orders and deliveries as well as cancellation activity for Airbus during the month of August. What should be kept in mind is that, while this seems to be like a simple summarizing piece, I spend a considerable amount of time to get all data right and present it in a useful way, including graphics. Next to the monthly values for orders, we also have a tally for cumulated cancellations just like last year, but starting this year, we also will put a value on the cancellations. If you are interested in reading Airbus’ monthly overview for July, you can check it out here.

Orders in August

Figure 1: Orders Airbus August 2019 (Source: AeroAnalysis)

Airbus started the year very weak. After booking 67 orders in the first four months, of which 58 were in March, May saw an order inflow of just one aircraft. June looked a lot better, helped by the launch of the Airbus A321XLR, followed by order inflow that was below the average for the current year.

In July, Airbus saw modest order inflow, 16, for its single-aisle product, but no orders for wide-body aircraft:

  • An unidentified customer ordered 15 Airbus A321neo aircraft.
  • A private customer ordered one Airbus A3210neo AJC (Airbus Corporate Jet).

During the month, the following changes and cancellations took place:

  • Tibet Airlines was revealed as the customer for one Airbus A319ceo.
  • Aercap (AER) converted an order for one Airbus A320neo to one order for the Airbus A321neo.
  • GECAS converted orders for 45 Airbus A320neo aircraft for the same number of aircraft of the Airbus A321neo variant.
  • Vueling converted orders for two Airbus A320neo aircraft for the same number of aircraft of the Airbus A321neo variant.
  • Air China and China Southern Airlines both were revealed as customers for one Airbus A320neo.
  • BOC Aviation was revealed as the customer for one Airbus A330-900.
  • Seven orders for the Airbus A350-900 from KLM were transferred to Air France following the renewed fleet strategy of the airline group.

Last year, Airbus booked five orders in August, indicating an 11-unit increase in gross sales compared to last year. In the previous three years, it received 156 orders combined in August or 52 orders on average. So, Airbus had a below-average month, but this is partially caused by high order inflow in 2016 from Air Asia for the Airbus A321neo.

During the month, cancellations remained constant.

Looking at the eight-month figures, gross orders decreased by 12 units and net orders decreased by 124 units. During the first five months, Airbus has suffered a decline in the order book, driven by the termination of the A380 program, Germania and Jet Airways ceasing operations, and Avianca’s (AVH) and Etihad’s fleet plan restructuring. However, after the Paris Air Show and the order inflow that came with it, Airbus now has a positive net order tally, indicating that Airbus booked more orders than it had to cancel.

Deliveries in August

Figure 2: Deliveries Airbus August 2019 (Source: AeroAnalysis)

For 2019, Airbus has set a delivery target of 880-890 units, which would be an increase of at least 10%.

In August, the company delivered 42 aircraft:

  • Three Airbus A220 deliveries occurred.
  • Airbus delivered 28 Airbus A320 aircraft, nine Airbus A320ceo family aircraft and 19 Airbus A320neo family aircraft. The number of deliveries fell short of the production rate.
  • Airbus delivered six Airbus A330 aircraft, in line with the production rate of 50 aircraft per year.
  • Three Airbus A350-900s and two Airbus A350-1000s were delivered, lower than the production rate of 10 aircraft per month.
  • No A380 deliveries occurred.

Year-over-year deliveries decreased by 12 units, primarily driven by lower A320 deliveries (-14) but higher Airbus A350 (+1) and Airbus A330 (+1) deliveries, while A380 and Airbus A220 deliveries remained flat.

Overall, we are seeing the delivery profile for the first seven months improve, as it now accounts for 57% of the full-year delivery target, whereas it was around 53% last year. However when we zoom in a bit on the individual months, we see that after a relatively strong first half of the year, the second half of the year has shown to be challenging with deliveries falling for the third consecutive month as well as the third month of year-over-year delivery declines. What rests is a 66 delivery increase year-over-year, built in the first half of the year. The second half so far has proven to be more challenging than previously anticipated.

Book-to-bill

The book-to-bill ratio typically is expressed in gross unit terms 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 August, the gross ratio is 0.38 in terms of gross units and 0.3 in terms of value. For the first eight months, these numbers are 0.52 and 0.63, indicating that booked orders and value are lower than delivered units and delivery value.

If you go to a net basis for the orders year to date, it would be 0.2 on a unit basis, indicating that there were less net orders than there were deliveries and 0.13 on a value basis (slightly worse if you take into account that the A220 is part of a joint venture), indicating that the net order value is much smaller compared to the delivery value.

Conclusion

In August, we saw deliveries declining year over year again – single-aisle deliveries are lower, partially offset by higher wide-body deliveries. Order inflow increased year-over-year by eight units, but is still down 12 units when comparing the year-to-date numbers.

In the first eight months, we saw a sharp increase in deliveries (66), reflecting a recovered delivery profile on the A320 program and the addition of the A220 to Airbus deliveries. Gross order inflow was somewhat lower during the first eight months, with 262 orders compared to 274 orders last year. Additional pressures were caused by cancellations from Etihad Airways, Germania, Avianca, Republic Airways and the cancellation of the Airbus A380 program.

For Airbus investors, the first half of the year was good but the second half of the year is off to a bumpy start when looking at the delivery profile. Looking at orders, many of the cancellations were already anticipated, and we saw the Airbus net order tally getting back into the positive. Possibly the only points in the order profile where we would like to see improvement is consistency in wide-body sales and reduction in delivery delays for the A320neo program. The single-aisle program is in much better shape than it was last year, but there still are delays that are impacting customers. Airbus has four months left to deliver 380 aircraft to meet its delivery target, so it’s going to be challenging. While the delivery profile is looking better, the jet maker needs to show delivery numbers comparable to last year to reach its delivery target.

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