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The order battle between Boeing  and Airbus is one way for the companies to flex their muscles, next to marketing their respective products as the best solution with the highest fuel efficiency and passenger comfort. Even though the orders (in terms of value) are in no way a reflection of financial performance, it’s important to have a look at the order inflow. That’s because the order tallies give a nice impression of which manufacturer has the best mix of discount, comfort, slot availability and efficiency and it gives an idea of the overall health of the aircraft market and appetite for new aircraft. In this article, AeroAnalysis will look at the order inflow during February for both manufacturers and their role in the narrow and wide body markets.

Overview for February

Airbus and Boeing together hauled in 70 gross orders in February compared to 43 orders in the same month last year. The increase is primarily caused by Airbus having some order inflow in February this year. Last year, it did not log any ordered in February. Looking at the division of the orders in February, we’d mark Airbus as the winner. Airbus won most gross orders as it accumulated 40 orders versus 30 for Boeing. In terms of value, Boeing received $3.7B worth of orders versus $4.3B for Airbus.

In February, Boeing booked 30 gross orders, 21 wide body jets and 9 single aisle aircraft:

  • A unidentified customer ordered 7 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. This probably is a NG to MAX swap.
  • TUI Travel ordered two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
  • An unidentified customer ordered 3 Boeing 777F aircraft.
  • UPS ordered 14 Boeing 747-8F aircraft and four Boeing 767-300F aircraft.

The full report for Boeing’s orders and deliveries in February 2018 can be found here.

In February, Airbus booked 40 gross orders, 20 wide body jets and 20 single aisle aircraft:

  • An undisclosed customer ordered 20 Airbus A320neo aircraft.
  • Emirates firmed its order for 20 Airbus A380 aircraft.

The full report for the Airbus orders and deliveries in February 2018 can be found here.

Overview Year-to-date

Airbus received 17 cancellations in the first 2 months, leaving the jet maker with 43 net orders. Boeing received 58 orders and 24 cancellations in the first 2 months of 2018, bringing its net orders to 34. Looking at the net orders, Airbus is having a lead over Boeing, but there are 10 months remaining. It will be very interesting to see how many orders both jet makers materialize until and during the Farnborough Airshow later this year.

Airbus is having a better start of the year compared to 27 when it booked 4 gross orders and ended up with a net negative order number of 8. Boeing saw its order inflow contract a bit; gross orders fell from 69 to 58, while cancellations increased from 11 to 24 with some of these cancellations being order conversions.

Boeing and Airbus both will be happy with the order inflow during February. Both jet makers booked important orders for their (somewhat) troubled programs, so having these orders that are likely to see delivery ending up in the order books is a good step into solidifying the positions of these programs.

Conclusion

After 2 months, you cannot draw any conclusions. Both jet makers can turn the battle around in just one month as Airbus portrayed last year, but we’d expect to be able to see some clear headings after the Farnborough Airshow that will take place in July. What is interesting is that Boeing is expecting moderated order inflow, which is a rather vague term while Airbus expects to maintain a book-to-bill of 1. This is not necessarily an indication that Boeing expects to book less orders since it produces more aircraft than Airbus, but it seems that Boeing is more cautious about their ability to accumulate orders in 2018.

What holds for both manufacturers is that they are oversold on their single aisle programs and there is the possibility to hike production rates beyond levels currently announced, though the supply chain and especially the supply chain of the propulsion systems should be stress tested thoroughly.