It’s official: Airbus now has more total orders for its A320 family of aircraft than Boeing does for its 737 planes. Partially due to the ongoing crisis surrounding the 737 MAX, the total number of orders for A320 aircraft has now reached 15,193.
Airbus on top
Airbus released figures at the end of October this year which show that the total number of orders for the A320 family has reached 15,193. Boeing has fallen behind, with 15,136 orders for its 737 aircraft.
Airbus orders were helped massively last month with an order for 300 twinjets from IndiGo. At the end of 2018, Boeing had more than 400 orders more than Airbus.
MRO is reporting that “there are currently 7,251 current-generation A320-family aircraft in service, versus 6,757 737NGs.”
However, Boeing is still ahead of Airbus in terms of actual delivery numbers. The US planemaker has delivered almost 10,563 737 aircraft. Airbus has only delivered 9,086 A320 planes.
But the gap is closing. In October of this year, Airbus delivered 77 aircraft, 59 of which were A320s. In comparison, Boeing only delivered 20 aircraft in October and a dozen of these were not 737s. This puts Boeing on track to deliver just 400 aircraft this year, half of what it delivered in 2018.
In addition, it’s easy to forget that Boeing took it’s first order for 737 planes in 1965 while Airbus only started delivering its A320 planes in 1988. That’s a lot of years for Airbus to catch up, but catch up it has.
The 737 MAX
It’s the elephant in the room but Boeing is still struggling in the wake of the 737 MAX disasters. It only managed to secure orders for 36 planes in the first 10 months of this year.
Despite the 737 MAX problems, few airlines have actually cancelled their orders for the aircraft so Boeing still has orders to deliver. Airlines such as Southwest still have over 4,000 737 MAX on order.
Boeing is also continuing to state that the 737 will be back in the air in January 2020, so next year should hopefully see the US manufacturer returning to form.
Additionally, most airlines don’t just switch from one manufacturer to another as it is very costly to change an entire fleet of aircraft. Part of the success of the A320 family is Airbus’s ability to sell to lost-cost start-up airlines. With this part of the aviation market growing in size, Airbus is poised to continue its sales.
Another issue for Boeing was timing. Due to production delays its new MAX aircraft was launched six months after Airbus launched the new A320neo. In that six-month head start, Airbus racked up over 1,000 orders before the MAX was even announced. A small amount, but every little helps.
Another consideration for airlines picking between the two aircraft types is engine choice. The Airbus narrowbody planes have a choice of several engines: the IAE V2500 and CFM56 for A320s and the option of the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G or the CFM Leap-1A for the A320neo. However, for the Boeing 737 planes, you have no choice. The 737NG has a CFM56-7B and the 737 MAX has a Leap-1B. Having said that, not having a choice of engine hasn’t hurt Boeing sales in the past.
So, with Boeing now overtaken by Airbus, do you think Airbus will keep hold of their lead when the 737 MAX gets back in the skies next year? Or has Boeing slipped from the top spot permanently? Let us know what you think in the comments.