2009 Order Tallies a Sign of the Times

 - February 27, 2009, 8:07 AM

A firm order announced on February 27 for six A330-200s from Korean Air helped ease the sting of an exceedingly sluggish sales year so far for Airbus, but it didn’t erase the considerable pressure felt by both of the Western world’s major OEMs to deliver on promises to maintain production rates, as analysts and suppliers closely monitor how each react to a growing list of delivery deferrals.  In fact, until the latest Korean Air order, both companies had announced more cancellations than firm orders, a development that certainly confirms the lack of confidence the world’s airlines and financiers have carried into the early going this year.

So far this year Boeing has collected firm orders for 19 Next Generation 737s–one from Alaska Airlines, 13 from Ryanair and five from Southwest Airlines. But the cancellation of 32 B787s–including 16 from Dubai-based leasing company LCAL and 15 from Russia’s S7–resulted in a net order decline as of February 24 of 13 airplanes, the most recent involving a single corporate configured 787 ordered by Hong Kong real-estate developer Joseph Lau. Meanwhile, with the most recent order for six A330-200s from Korean Air, Airbus had logged firm orders for 12 airplanes–including a pair of A380s from the Korean flag carrier and four A321s from Turkish Airlines–as of today. At the end of January it reported cancellations for the same number, but at the time of this posting had not released cancellation figures for February.

Last year Airbus logged a net order total of 777 airplanes, including more than 250 during that January and February. Boeing finished 2008 with net orders for 662, including a total of 190 during the first two months of the year.