An order from Aviation Capital Group for fifty 737 Max 8s and ten 737 Max 9s last week lifted Boeing’s firm order total for the prospective re-engined narrowbodies to more than 1,000 and capped a solid year in which for the first time since 2002 the U.S. company outperformed Airbus in both deliveries and sales. Closed in December, the ACG contract increased the number of 737 Maxs on firm order to 1,029 and Boeing’s total firm order count for last year to 1,203.
Although Airbus won’t release firm numbers from last year until it holds its annual state-of-the-company press conference on January 17, sales totals extrapolated by AIN from the European company’s end-of-November results and December announcements showed a clear advantage for Boeing.
Still, judging by its recent sales performance, Airbus needn’t sound any alarms. At the end of November counting net firm orders for 585 airplanes, the company saw its total rise to at least 765 with major narrowbody orders in December from Malaysia’s AirAsia and Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines. By the time the existence of those pair of contracts went public, Airbus had collected firm orders for 1,579 Neos. In the widebody arena, Airbus continued its recent surge with the announcement of yet another order last week—from CIT Group—for ten A350-900s.
By the end of November Airbus had delivered 516 airplanes, including 25 A380s. Significantly, an Airbus spokesperson told AIN that the company delivered another five A380s in December, meaning it met its often-quoted goal it set for the superjumbo during a year in which production “challenges” raised doubts among analysts of the company’s ability to do so.
Overall, Airbus appeared likely to deliver the 580 airplanes it forecast for 2012, compared with Boeing’s confirmed total of 601. The Boeing delivery total represented a 26-percent increase in production over 2011. At the end of the year Boeing’s backlog stood at 4,373 aircraft, the most in company history.
Meanwhile, the 737 program broke the record for orders for any Boeing model in a single year, accumulating net sales of 1,124 airplanes, including 914 of the new 737 Max. Boeing’s delivery of 415 Next Generation 737s also set a new record.