November A Dud For Airbus With No New Orders Booked

Continuing the trend of a difficult 2020, Airbus recorded no new orders in November. The manufacturer’s gross orders were just shy of 400 aircraft by November 30th for the year. Net orders were just shy of 300. It did, however, deliver 64 jets in November.

A320, A340 & A380 Lineup Getty
Airbus recorded zero orders in November. Photo: Getty Images

No new orders

Gross orders for 2020 stood at 381 aircraft as of November 30th. Considering some cancellations and reworkings, the total net orders for 2020 came out to 297 jets for Airbus. None of these orders came in November.

This is not necessarily unsurprising. Most airlines have no plans for expansion. Instead, all of them are looking to conserve cash by deferring aircraft orders and even some cancelations. Some airlines that have retired and plan to retire additional aircraft have not placed any new aircraft orders for replacement. The reason being that aircraft orders now cost a lot of money. And, given how almost no airlines are ordering new jets, airlines can afford to wait and not necessarily lose out on the delivery slots they want.

Most airlines have shied away from new aircraft orders. Photo: Getty Images

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64 deliveries for the month

In November, Airbus delivered a total of 64 aircraft to 31 customers. This included some special deliveries, such as Sky Express’s first Airbus A320neo. The total deliveries for 2020 stand at 477 planes to 80 customers on the commercial side.

Air Canada took two Airbus A220-300s. A combined total of 29 Airbus A320neo aircraft were delivered to customers like Volaris, China Southern, IndiGo, Kuwait Airways, and more. Delta took one Airbus A321ceo, while Airbus handed over 23 A321neos in the month.

Airlines that took A321neos include Middle East Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Aegean, Air Transat, and more. There was one A330neo delivery to a lessor, six A350-900 deliveries (including two to Ethiopian Airlines on one day), and one A350-1000 delivery to Virgin Atlantic. Some of these aircraft delivered went to airlines via lessors. There were no A380 deliveries in the month.

Virgin Atlantic, Summer 2021, Schedule
Virgin Atlantic took a new A350-1000. Photo: Getty Images

Deliveries, like orders, slowed down for a bit before starting to pick up ever-so-slightly. Some airlines in burgeoning markets like China have been eager to take on new aircraft, as more people are flying domestically in mainland China. However, most carriers have not been willing to take plenty of new aircraft as travel demand remains suppressed and cash burn remains high, even if it is declining.

When will things start to pick up?

2020 is going into the history books as a rough and difficult year for airlines. Carriers, which were optimistic about record-high travel numbers and a plethora of new route launches, soon found themselves struggling to fill planes, cope with increasing border restrictions, and manage a cash crisis unlike any other.

Most airlines are likely going to shy away from a new aircraft order for a bit. This is because limiting capital expenditures and minimizing cash burn is at the forefront of nearly all Airbus customers. For sure, Airbus is at least thankful that some airlines are taking delivery of new aircraft again. This was a problem early on in the crisis for the European planemaker.

Paris Air Show Getty
With the Paris Air Show canceled, 2021 will likely be another slow year for aircraft orders. Photo: Getty Images

For now, it looks like early 2021 will also be a bit of a slog. Depending on how the vaccine rollout progresses, airlines could start to think about placing new aircraft orders or expanding existing orders, likely in the second half of the year. Some may decide to jump the gun and get ahead of the game with early orders, though most will likely wait and see what happens.

With the Paris Air Show canceled for 2021, however, it is clear that the crisis will continue to last for a while, and Airbus will have another difficult year in 2021. Though, 2021 should be better than 2020, assuming things keep their current upward trajectory.

What do you make of Airbus’ zero-order November? Which airlines do you think should order new Airbus aircraft? Let us know in the comments!