The end of the year usually means a flurry of activity for aircraft manufacturers, but the changed circumstances changed the rules of the game. Aircraft deliveries and orders for more are scarce and the latest data by Airbus and Boeing showcase that fact.
However, suffering is different for both manufacturers. While one battled one crisis at a time, the other still had to combat two.
Airbus: dwindling orders and stable deliveries
The European manufacturer managed to be somewhat stable regarding its deliveries throughout the year.
Airbus delivered 64 aircraft in November 2020, the latest Orders and Deliveries data showcases. Customers took delivery of 54 Airbus A320 family aircraft, split into: one Airbus A319 current engine option (ceo), one A321ceo that went to Tibet Airlines and Delta Air Lines respectively, while 52 A320neo/A321neo were delivered fresh to various airlines across the globe.
Air Canada (ADH2) welcomed two Airbus A220-300 jets, rounding up the narrow-body segment to a total of 56 deliveries during the month. In October 2020, the European manufacturer shipped off 55 narrow-body aircraft, while a month prior, Airbus delivered 48 single-aisle jets to customers.
In the wide-body segment, the Toulouse-based manufacturer handed off eight aircraft: one Airbus A330-900neo and seven Airbus A350 aircraft. In total, 64 aircraft were delivered throughout the month. In October 2020 that number stood at 72 aircraft, while during the first month of fall, Airbus gave away 57 aircraft to airlines.
No fresh orders were booked during the month of November. On the other hand, 11 additional orders were canceled: if in October 2020 Airbus indicated it had 308 net orders, a month later the number changed to 297, as customers reshuffled their order books amidst the biggest crisis in aviation.
Boeing: continuing pain
While Airbus had to manage the COVID-19 crisis, two crises weighed on Boeing heavily. Although a bright spot appeared when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ungrounded the 737 MAX in November 2020, activity was yet to reflect that.
In total, Boeing delivered seven aircraft: four freighter aircraft, including one 747-8F, one P-8A Poseidon, based on the 737-800 NextGeneration (NG), and one Boeing 777-300ER to Novus Aviation Capital, which went to British Airways.
In the Orders department, the US manufacturer booked two KC-46 orders from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and an additional 25 units of the Boeing 737 MAX from Virgin Australia ‒ the airline that has recently exited bankruptcy proceedings. The Australian carrier restructured its previous order of 25 Boeing 737 MAX-10 and 23 737 MAX-8 aircraft, delivered from July 2021 and February 2025, respectively, to a sole order of 25 737 MAX-10 delivered from mid-2023. While Virgin Australia announced the switch in December 2020, Boeing booked the order in November 2020.
Boeing delivered no aircraft from its cash-cow segment, the 737 MAX or the 787 Dreamliner. While the former was ungrounded by the FAA on November 18, 2020, the latter has suffered from unfavorable market conditions. Nevertheless, Boeing delivered the first 737 MAX since its ungrounding to United Airlines on December 8, 2020.