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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, we will look at the order inflow during January for both manufacturers and their role in the narrow and wide body markets.

Overview for January

Airbus and Boeing together hauled in 48 orders in January compared to 30 orders in the same month last year. Order inflow increased by 18 units, but this is primarily caused by one customer canceling 17 Boeing 737 MAX orders and another customer picking up the very same slots. Looking at the division of the orders in January, it’s hard to point out a winner. Boeing won most gross orders as it accumulated 28 orders versus 20 for Airbus, but in net orders Airbus led the way with 15 net orders versus 11 for Boeing. The net value of the Boeing orders was $1.8B, while Airbus did not get any further than $0.7B. A fair conclusion would be that Boeing won in terms of value because of the 10 P-8 Poseidon aircraft that it sold during the first month of the year.

In January, Boeing booked 28 gross orders, 0 wide body jets and 28 single aisle aircraft:

  • The US Navy bought 7 P-8 aircraft, which are military derivatives of the Boeing 737-800.
  • The UK bought 3 P-8 aircraft.
  • 1 Boeing BBJ MAX was sold to an unidentified customer.
  • A second unidentified customer ordered 17 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

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

In January, Airbus booked 20 gross orders, 0 wide body jets and 20 single aisle aircraft:

  • CALC ordered 15 Airbus A320neo aircraft.
  • Spirit Airlines ordered 5 Airbus A320ceo aircraft.

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

Overview Year-to-date

Airbus received 5 cancellations in January, leaving the jet maker with 15 net orders. In January, Boeing received 28 orders and 17 cancellations, bringing its net orders to 11. Looking at the net orders, Airbus is having a lead over Boeing but one month obviously doesn’t make a year and it will be very interesting to see how many orders both jet makers materialize until the Farnborough Airshow later this year.

Order inflow exclusively consisted of narrow body orders. While the orders are most welcome to build a case for additional production rate increases on the single aisle programs, during the year order inflow for the wide body aircraft is most welcome.

Conclusion

After 1 month, you cannot draw any conclusions. Both jet makers can turn the battle around in just one month as Airbus portrayed last year. 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, but it seems that Boeing is more cautious about their ability to accumulate orders in 2018.

What remains 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.