Airbus Takes Order Crown for 2013 While Boeing Sets Delivery Record

 - January 13, 2014, 10:07 AM
Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier expressed encouragement with his company's profitability "trajectory" during its annual press conference on January 13. (Photo: Airbus)

A particularly productive month of December for both Airbus and Boeing helped the world’s dominant airframe makers surpass commercial targets for 2013, leaving each with unfilled order totals of well over 5,000 airplanes. Airbus’s sales force saw gross order totals surge to 1,619 for the year, setting a new industry record for units by 11 and giving the European company its most valuable gross order intake ever at $240.5 billion based on list prices. Boeing, meanwhile, set a new industry record for deliveries, shipping 648 airplanes compared with 626 for Airbus.

As of January 1, Airbus carried a backlog of 5,559 airplanes worth $809 billion at list prices and accounting for eight years of production. On January 13, Airbus announced a 2.6-percent increase in list prices for its products that will apply through the end of 2014. Boeing didn’t estimate the value of the 5,080 airplanes that remain on its own record delivery backlog.

According to Airbus, decisions by customers to move toward larger aircraft in all segments (A321, A330-300, A350-1000 and A380) yielded a positive result on its revenues.

“These benchmark results are feeding nicely into our profitability targets, and I am proud to report that the trajectory is showing strongly upward,” said Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Bregier.

A firm order from Emirates for 50 Airbus A380s last month—an acquisition announced at November’s Dubai Airshow as a letter of intent—represented the most lucrative deal for the European airframer in December. All told, it collected firm orders for 211 aircraft, including 120 A320-family jets from three undisclosed customers.

For Boeing, the month of December saw its order totals increase by 319 airplanes, including 267 of its 737 narrowbody family. An order for 75 Boeing 737Max narrowbodies and another eleven 737-800NGs from FlyDubai during the last week of December ensured the U.S. airframe maker’s gross order figures would enter record territory.

In 2013, three Boeing programs set records for deliveries in single year. Boeing shipped 440 Next Generation 737s, ninety-eight 777s and 65 Dreamliners, which now fly with 16 customers. With the higher production rates achieved in 2013, all three Boeing Commercial Airplanes production sites—in Everett and Renton, Washington, and North Charleston, South Carolina—delivered a record number of airplanes.

By the end of the year Boeing reached its target of producing ten 787s a month. Rates for the 737 increased to 38 per month in January and plans call for that number to rise to 42 by mid-year. Also in January, 777 rates rose from seven to 8.3 a month.