Thanks to a bumper December, Airbus beat its full-year 2021 target of 600 commercial aircraft deliveries as it handed over 611 jets to customers. The European OEMs managed to ship 93 aircraft in December, the highest number of any month in 2021, according to its orders and deliveries overview released on Monday. The total of 611 commercial deliveries marks a welcome improvement over 2020 when it handed over just 566 jets to customers as the Covid-19 pandemic forced airlines to scale back operations. Still, the 2021 delivery tally remains well below the total for 2019, when Airbus achieved a new record with 863 commercial aircraft deliveries to 99 customers.
Last year’s deliveries consisted of five A380s, including the last-ever to Emirates Airline on December 16, 55 A350s, 18 A330s, 483 A320-family jets, and 50 A220s.
With a 30 percent share, Asia-Pacific led all other regions in terms of 2021 deliveries despite the slow traffic recovery there. Europe and North America accounted for 17 and 16 percent shares of Airbus aircraft deliveries last year, respectively, while lessors took 29 percent of deliveries.
Airbus’s orders also improved in 2021 compared with the previous year. The OEM doubled its gross order intake compared with 2020 levels with 771 new sales, though after cancellations the net order tally totaled 507—up from 268 in 2020. In the widebody segment, Airbus collected gross orders for 46 airplanes—30 A330s and 16 A350s, 11 of which were for the newly launched A350F. The A220 won gross firm orders for 64 units and the A320neo family saw gross orders for 661.
Sales of Airbus’s smallest narrowbody received another boost Monday with an order for 22 A220s from Azorra. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based aircraft lessor’s purchase agreement covers A220-300s and two ACJ TwoTwenty business jets. “The addition of Azorra’s capabilities in the regional airline segment is a welcome endorsement for the A220 versatility,” commented Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer. As of the end of December 2021, the A220 had accumulated orders for 668 airplanes from 25 customers.
The “significant” number of orders from airlines worldwide last year signals “confidence in the sustainable growth of air travel post-Covid,” asserted Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “Our commercial aircraft achievements in 2021 reflect the focus and resilience of our Airbus teams, customers, suppliers, and stakeholders across the globe who pulled together to deliver remarkable results,” he said. “While uncertainties remain, we are on track to lift production through 2022 to meet our customers’ requirements.”
Boeing expects to disclose 2021 orders and deliveries data on Tuesday. The U.S. aircraft manufacturer sent just 302 jets to customers during the first 11 months of the year, leaving it well behind its European rival.