Boeing Vs Airbus – Who Won 2019?

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Which airline builder was the best in 2019? Boeing or Airbus? One answer may seem obvious, but it pays to understand how and why one airframe builder managed to get ahead.

Airbus and Boeing
Airbus vs Boeing. Which won 2019? Photo: Airbus/Boeing

Who had the most orders?

Let’s not beat around the bush. Airbus cleaned up this year with more orders than Boeing.

Looking at the figures as of November 2019 (this article was written December 31st, 2019):

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Boeing vs Airbus
Airbus vs Boeing orders. Year on Year. Photo: Wikipedia

We can see that Airbus managed to get 718 orders compared to Boeing’s -84 orders. These orders above are incomplete, with Airbus receiving a bigger order in December for a huge 115 aircraft, from Cebu Pacific and Spirit Airways.

Yesterday we went into detail as to why Airbus managed to get so many orders, but essentially:

  • They shut down A380 production and moved those orders over to other variants (such as the A350). Because an Airbus A380 costs more than an A350, that spend amount could be leveraged to get more aircraft. For example, Emirates reduced its A380 order by 39 aircraft and thus was able to translate that spend into 50 A350s. 
  • Airbus also launched the A321XLR at the Paris Air Show. This new aircraft filled a niche that was currently underserved by the industry (You could argue the Boeing 757 and 767 did meet the requirements, but not as efficiently as the A321XLR). This new aircraft proved popular and won Airbus over 400 orders.
  • Speaking of new, Airbus also continued to promote its new A220 aircraft. This opened up another market segment for Airbus and is gaining popularity.
  • Airbus’ A320neo also was the only alternative to the Boeing 737 MAX, but we will get into that subject later.
A380
Airbus made the hard choice to cancel the A380. Photo: Getty Images

Speaking of Boeing, you might notice that they lost orders this year and ended on a negative number. Some of these orders are from Emirates switching orders away from the Boeing 777X and into the Dreamliner. Additionally, Boeing lost 737 MAX orders due to airlines canceling the type or going out of business.

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You can read all about Boeing’s year here.

The impact of the Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing
The Boeing 737 MAX. Photo: Boeing

We can’t ignore 2019’s biggest aviation news story, the Boeing 737 MAX being grounded. The 737 MAX was the fourth generation of Boeing’s incredibly popular 737 product line and set to carry the company well into the new decade.

However, with revelations that the crashes involved engineering errors with the aircraft and that they still have not been solved put a huge damper on Boeing’s ability to attract new business. The cost alone to the families of the tragedy, paying off airlines and smoothing over other issues has cost the company plenty.

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This year, the only large airline to make an effort to work with Boeing, IAG, signed a letter of intent with the airframe builder at the Paris Air Show for 200 aircraft. Apart from that, Boeing received little attention when compared to Airbus.

Many airlines that had previously shown brand loyalty to Boeing moved over to Airbus, making big orders for their A320neo range and pushing the aircraft to have more orders that the 737.

The year ended with the news that Boeing plans to shut down production of the 737 MAX to stem the tied of aircraft piling up in their carpark (and I’m not exaggerating, they are up to 400 now).

Getty
Boeing 737 MAX aircraft grounded and unable to be delivered. Photo: Getty Images

Where does that leave us?

Overall, 2019 was Airbus’ year. There is no mistake that Boeing is down but they are certainly not out. They have their Boeing 787 series selling well (Far more popular than the Airbus A330) and their new Boeing 777X aircraft could be a serious rival to the Airbus A350.

But as commentators wrote on our last few articles, Boeing is now in a cash-poor position (thanks Tony), whilst Airbus is nicely set up for the future. Boeing needs to find a way to fix the flaws with their 737 MAX product, and possibly create a clean-sheet design to replace the 737 MAX and counter the threat of the Airbus A321XLR.

Airbus, however, can relax and count their sales as they move forward into 2020. They have plenty of blueprints hidden away such as lengthening the Airbus A220 into a -500 model to counter anything Boeing can come up with(Or Boeings Embraer aspirations). Plus if Boeing manages to create a Boeing 797, Airbus could ramp up A330neo production or restart shrinking of the clean sheet A350.

What do you think? Did Airbus ‘win’ this year? Let us know in the comments.

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Nicholas

Naturally it was Airbus’ year – the key is, can they keep it up for a few more years ?

Who would go on a 737 MAX 8…?

Colm

Have Boeing’s figures been amended to include the cancellation of the Jet Airways Max orders? There were over 200 of them. If they have not then their total is WAY worse…..

Chris

Airbus out perform Boeing this year, Boeing is still in the Game so there is chance Boeing could turn things around starting from 2020.

Frank

Colm, the Jet Airways order was 75 by the airline directly and 150 which were ordered by a leasing company, for them – a total of 225.
Depending what is in the contract for the leasing company, Boeing could force the leasing company to take the aircraft. It’s kinda like STLC and Red Wings in Russia, with their A220 order. Airbus Canada is turning out those planes painted white and handing them over to the leasing firm.
(mind you – the A220’s shouldn’t be hard to place, given the type and how well received it is. The 737 Max….mmmmmm, not so much)

Frank

Nicholas – have a look in the EOY Airbus article you posted and the comments on the Embraer and Boeing tie up. I was wondering what you thought about the reasoning behind the merger and how it doesn’t seem to fit. Embraer isn’t a threat to the A220.
An A350 shrink probably won’t work – shrinks never seem to. However, as the A321LR and XLR eat up that niche from the bottom (which is essentially the 757 replacement) the segment becomes smaller and smaller, it being the replacement for the 767.
If you take out the freighter 767 and the tanker, the market is what….maybe 1000 aircraft, total?

767-200 B762 128 128 —
767-200ER B762 121 121 —
767-2C (KC-46) B762 73 32 41
767-300 B763 104 104 —
767-300ER B763 583 583 —
767-300F B763 223 167 56
767-400ER B764 38 38 —
Total 1,270 1,173 97

How many of those 1000 aircraft will airlines accept a small 787/A330 as a replacement OR just make do with the XLR?

Pretty big risk of some $15 billion for those kind of sales.

Gerry S

Winners. Losers. Who won? Who lost? Play up the competition. Stimulate the bile. Airbus fans vs Boeing fans. Haters vs haters. Juvenile stuff.

Henry last

Boeing has made an eternal mistake….unforgettable and unforgivable. I and many others will not forget…

JFP

Noticed Boeing Military recently made deals with the USAF and USN for new aircraft. They should’ve told both that since their parent (U.S. Government) likes Airbus so much, they’re going to have to look at Typhoon and Rafale for their future warbird needs. Boeing needs to stop selling aircraft to hostile governments. They should also start offshoring aircraft production to a country with a friendly government. If there’s a downturn in demand for the 787, start downsizing Everett, make Charleston primary and establish a new line at São José dos Campos in Brazil. Likewise, once the current KC-46 contract is complete, move 767 freighter production to Brazil. After that, start a 777X final assembly line in Brazil, then transfer all 777X production there, and sell off Everett. Finally, unless the 737 MAX is fully rehabilitated by the U.S. government, Boeing needs to transfer production to Brazil and do a re-start there.

I know perspiring minds are wondering… ‘What about the 747?” Glad you asked! Triumph has built the last currently contracted fuselage barrels and is liquidating the production facilities. The end is in sight, alas. ‘What about the 797?’ If that project comes to fruition, it should be a fully “Made in Brazil” product.

I am sure Brazil would love to have the GDP boost and jobs Boeing would bring which the U.S. obviously doesn’t want.

Gerry S

What a bunch of drivel. Stay off the joy juice JFP.

joonas reivik

its hard to choose which one is better for me both of them are good

ciro caprioli

YES AIRBUS win in 2019 , but can not RELAX like the news said , So I think 2020 is going to be GOOD for AIRBUS TOO also , and for BOEING is going to be a difficult one..

Jacob Ridenour

I am very young air geek and for me I personally love airbus more but I really think that they should continue making a newer safer version of the 737 MAX because a lot of people like that plane I think they should make a cross-over with the dream liner and the 737 MAX. I would love to see them make a cross-over between the Dream liner and the airbus a380 but that would never happen.