Substantial order cancellations struck both Boeing and Airbus during the month of April, leaving the Boeing 787 in negative territory for the year and the A350 backlog significantly dented, according to data released last week by both manufacturers.
All told, Boeing lost orders for 25 Dreamliners, including 24 from China Eastern Airlines, which instead placed an order for 45 Boeing 737-800s. A single VIP customer also cancelled an order for the 787, lowering the order count for the composite-bodied airliner to 854. Boeing started the year with orders for 860, but only 19 new orders for 787s accompanied this year’s cancellations.
However, through April Boeing had booked firm orders for 415 airplanes this year, led by a particularly strong showing by the 737 narrowbody line. A February order for two hundred one 737 Max jets and twenty-nine 737-900ERs from Indonesia’s Lion Air accounts for more than half of the year’s total.
For its part, Airbus saw Etihad Airways cancel orders for seven more A350-1000s, adding to an earlier cancellation of six of the big jets by Etihad in December. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier now holds firm orders for just 12 A350s, fewer than half of its original firm commitment total. Airbus now holds firm orders for 548 A350s, but only 62 of the A350-1000 variant—the largest of the series and the airplane Airbus hopes to position against the Boeing 777.
Airbus originally slated the A350-1000 for market entry by the start of 2016, but delayed the program by roughly a year-and-a-half in an effort to extract more engine thrust and range. Still, the A350-1000 hasn’t gained a new customer since 2008.
More encouraging developments for the European airframer included a firm order for 11 A330-300s from Garuda Indonesia last month, raising its total net order count for the year to 95 airplanes. Its other order last month was for an A318 by an unidentified private customer.
As in the case of Boeing, narrowbodies have dominated this year’s net order tally for Airbus, amounting to 89 of the 95 on record.