Boeing Sees Recovery With 909 Gross New Aircraft Orders In 2021

As the airline industry recovered in 2021, so did Boeing. The American aircraft manufacturer recorded 909 gross new aircraft orders, including orders for new cargo and passenger planes. With 340 deliveries in 2021, Boeing saw the industry return to more of their growth plans and resume their long-term planning with new aircraft orders.

Air New Zealand, Boeing 787, Paint issue
Boeing saw a rebound in 2021 with orders. Photo: Getty Images

Boeing records 909 gross orders

In 2021 Boeing recorded a total of 909 gross new orders from airlines around the world. This figure is more than double that of 2020 and 2019 gross orders, which totaled 184 and 246, respectively. Gross orders do not account for cancellations or conversions. Net orders, which adjust for those changes, came out to 535 in 2021, still a sizable increase over both 2020 and 2019.

Of those 909 gross orders, narrowbodies led the way. From 18 customers, Boeing clocked 749 new MAX order aircraft. This included orders from major customers like United Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Several airlines also added incremental MAX orders in 2021 after placing bigger orders earlier in the year. This included United, Alaska, and 777 Partners. Some of the highlights for MAX orders included new customers like Allegiant Air and Akasa, an Indian startup.

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United Airlines placed a massive order for new 737 MAX aircraft in 2021. Photo: Jay Singh | Simple Flying

The MAX family was also popular across different variants. Boeing offers the 737-7, -8, -8-200, -9, and -10 to customers. Over the year, Boeing recorded at least 75 gross orders for each of these MAX variants. Note that this does not include options that airlines retain and can turn to firm orders in the future.

It was also a big year for cargo. Boeing recorded a new record of 84 new production cargo orders, which narrowly beat out the 83 orders it clocked in 2018. This includes orders for 42 Boeing 777Fs, 38 767Fs, and four 747-8Fs. Lastly, it was a big year for converted cargo freighters, of which Boeing clocked over 100 orders. This includes orders for both the 737-800BCF and the 767-300BCF.

Boeing Sees Recovery With 909 Gross New Aircraft Orders In 2021
Boeing also recorded an order from UPS for 767Fs in December. Photo: Boeing

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340 total deliveries

In 2021, Boeing delivered a total of 340 aircraft. This included 38 in December alone. In December, 33 of those 38 deliveries were Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to various passenger airlines.

The biggest star of the year, in terms of MAX deliveries, was Ryanair. The European low-cost carrier took 41 new Boeing 737 MAX jets in 2021, including six alone in December.

Boeing delivered comparatively fewer widebodies in 2021 than narrowbodies. It did deliver freighter widebodies in December. This included two Boeing 747-8Fs and one 767F to UPS and two 777Fs to EVA, based in Taiwan.

American Southwest United Boeing 737 MAX
The 737 MAX made up the bulk of deliveries in 2021. Photo: Getty Images

Widebody passenger delivered, primarily comprised of the Boeing 787 family, remained low. Boeing did deliver a total of 14 787s in 2021, though it could not deliver all of the jets it wanted to deliver due to issues it is working out with regulators. Once Boeing is able to resume deliveries, the 787 program will be the backbone of the company’s widebody deliveries, as customers continue to show an appetite for the aircraft and are looking to fly them to more new and exciting places.

A multi-sector recovery

As aviation rebounds, so did Boeing’s order backlog and deliveries. After hitting an extreme low in 2020, the industry has seen travel demand start to come back in nearly every market segment. Business travel is coming back. Leisure travel is incredibly strong. In particular, domestic markets have proven to be the most resilient and come back the strongest.

The overall shape of the recovery has been choppy. As new variants popped up and some travel restrictions came back, airlines were forced to pare back their plans, but much of that has been temporary. Many airlines, ranging from Ryanair to United Airlines, have taken new narrowbody aircraft and used them to support their operations as the industry recovers and grows behind what it was in 2019.

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