Airbus’s A320 Now Has More Total Orders Than The Boeing 737

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.

A320neo
Airbus A320 family aircraft now have more orders than Boeing 727. Photo: Airbus

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.

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MRO is reporting that “there are currently 7,251 current-generation A320-family aircraft in service, versus 6,757 737NGs.”

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Delivery

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.

Airbus delivery of 1000th A320neo
Airbus delivered their 1000th A320neo in October this year. Photo: Airbus

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.

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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.

737-max-tow
The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are still grounded. Photo: Boeing

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.

More problems

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.

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Peter

A stunning achievement by Airbus, particularly since the A320 family was introduced in 1984…20 years later than the 737.

Karl

Slight nitpick, but the A320 programme was launched in 1984, first flght in 1987 and entering into service (EIS) in 1988. In comparison, the 737 programme was launched in 1965, first flight in 1967 and entering into service in 1968.

Thus, I would argue that an aircraft is introduced to the world either when the first aircraft is rolled out, or at first flight.

Karl

Hmm, minus 12 down votes — LOL

As a matter of fact, though, the first A320 was rolled out of the final assembly line on 14 February 1987 and introduced to the world in a massive media event, christened by no less than Princess Diana and Prince Charles, was a critical turning point for Airbus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2m79F33k1E

High Mile Club

Narrow body orders, it remains to be seen if Boeing will take the top spot again. If this 797 comes out and takes in a rush, it could change. As far as wide body orders, I think Boeing still has a sizable lead over Airbus

Peter

The 797 is a widebody…it has two aisles…assuming it ever actually materializes…

eolosbcn

Boeing has a lot of problems right now. Is not going to be a 797 at least for several years.

Jethro

that is it ever comes out and when it does it might fall out of the sky software might be up the creek it might have engine problems it might blow of a door……………………. all in the life of boeing

AUSSIE

true maybe. but hope not

Peter Mpande

In its 4 decades in the sky, not a single Boeing 747 has ever fallen out of the sky, blew off a door, crashed due to multiple engine failure, or any such failure of engineering. The B747’s worst accident, Tenerife, happened on the ground, while its worst air crash, in Japan, was due to a bad repair of a damaged rear bulkhead. I go by Boeing’s engineering professionalism on that basis. The many previous B737 crashes are a matter of numbers; maths says the more B737s in the sky, the greater the chance of one B737 failing somewhere on earth,… Read more »

Peter

Your opening statement about the 747 is not correct. For example, the following incidents also resulted in hull losses and fatalities:
– ULF 48 crashed in May 1976 due to structural failure of a wing in flight.
– China Airlines 358 in December 1991; two engines detached from the right wing in flight.
– El Al 1862 in October 1992; two engines detached in flight due to metal fatigue.
– TWA flight 800 in July 1996; in-flight fuel vapor explosion in central fuel tank.
– China Airlines 611 in May 2002; mid-air disintegration due to metal fatigue.

Sam Rittler

Don’t forget Pan Am 103

Peter

Well, that was terrorism…not the airframer’s fault.
The same applies to the Air India tragedy off the coast of Ireland.
The other incidents in the list above were airframe-associated.

Nick Mackenzie-Rowe

No 747 has plunged into the ground because it was built and designed when Boeing was run by engineers. The 737 Max was only built because the current board of Boeing (not engineers) decided it was cheaper to build on an ancient (in aircraft design terms) design rather than design an entirely new aircraft. The 737 stretched to this length is aerodynamic unstable in-flight. Requiring software to correct it. Or as the engineers suggested, put some raised wheel arms. But no, let’s save a few pennies. This type of attitude will kill Boeing. Even before I predict Airbus would anyway.

Nick Mackenzie-Rowe

It will, because it is a new aircraft with a new airframe built from a blank sheet of paper. Boeing engineers never wanted to build the max. They could foresee the problems that materialised. They wanted to build the 797 instead. But no, the accountants on the board at Boeing got their way and we have hundreds of dead people. If and when Boeing get back to making great aircraft rather than prioritising great profit, they will attain great profit anyway. Just look at an Airbus, run by anyone but an accountant.

Henning

It’s a comparison between 2 aircraft types, the A 320 family and the 737 family.

Matt

The headline is a bit misleading since it also includes delivered orders. As far as order backlog, Airbus has been ahead for a while. It’s still interesting that Airbus is going to beat the 737 considering the two decade head start it had. Boeing should have seen the writing on the wall a long time ago.

Remy

It depends on what Boeing will do. With the current management and culture within the company, Boeing won’t get that nr 1 spot back anytime soon.

tcomm

I think the 737MAX is only the result of sequence of bad decisions by Boeing when they bought McDonnell Douglas. Unless Boeing go back to the original company before the buy I don’t see any hope in the near future:
https://crosscut.com/2019/11/signs-turbulence-boeing-existed-long-737-max-tragedies

Wilrich

Airbus now also have the A220 (thanks to Boeing) in its narrow body lineup.

John

Boeing still has a long way to come back after its MAX debacle. I think they will stay in second place for some time. They may say the plane is back in January, but there is the PR hurdle to get over first.

Robert Barnard

totally agree

Liem, K.G.

I think as long Huawei stays blacklisted Boeing has a problem in China.
Trump wants quid pro quo. The Chinese do too.
They won’t let a major Chinese company be cut off while a major American company gets off. Maybe not easy to connect, but would like to.

Gerry Stumpe

I think Boeing has fallen back permanently. I am a plane-spotter here in Florida (big sky) and am stunned at the number of Airbuses I see overhead compared to Boeing’s. It’s like Airbus rules the skies. The only thrill is actually the 787 and 767 types. Only gripe I have is that Boeing a/c presents a nicer appearance in the night skies due to their nav lights. Really visible from the rear. Airbuses are not as lit. Wingtip lights really make a difference.

Robert Barnard

tend to agree Gerry. Live in Florida as well and every time we fly lately in is an Airbus product

Gerry Stumpe

Cool it Jethro. Your hate is showing.

MAK

B737 debacle – corner-cutting ‘criminality’ aside – Boeing has over a century’s worth of professionalism, proficiency & technical expertise – they should in time be able to iron out the ‘glitches’………..but the biggest hurdle even then is going to be the risk-aversion, safety-hugging side of the human psyche……….this will take time. If they go the B797 route, it may mitigate the losses incurred – meanwhile, Airbus will, no doubt, take advantage & continue its winning run.

the B777X also seems to be having its run of ’embarrassments’!?

Nick Mackenzie-Rowe

From what you say, it seems you agree with me. Put the engineers back in charge and outsource the accountants rather than make them board members and decision makers.

Robert Barnard

I am a Boeing fan but I have to say they are kind of responsible for their own problems. They tried shortcuts on the MAX and they backfired big time costing them many orders and customer confidence.. Also, could they not see how popular 757s still were with customers, even with 767s flying. I could and I am an old retired airline guy. Even if they build the 797 now it may be too late to catch up to Airbus whos A321’s and A321XLR are filling that nitch well.

Lalo Galo

hold on, southwest has 4,000 Planes on order? american, the largest airline in the world has 933 aircraft

Joseph

I’m guessing that’s a typo for 400?

Andrew

Southwest has 4000 on order …. might want to look at that number again

Nick Mackenzie-Rowe

“Airlines like Southwest have 4000 on orders”. Meaning other dreary Airlines to fly on have bought them.