Can Boeing catch up to Airbus in 2022? | Data

Thor Jorgen Udvang /

Airbus snatched the title of world’s largest aircraft manufacturer from Boeing in 2019. The primary reason that the European planemaker was able to overtake its US rival was because of Boeing’s 737 MAX debacle. Instead of a new iteration of the world’s most successful jet, Boeing’s deliveries came to a near-standstill and caused a huge hole in the manufacturer’s budget. 

However, the ungrounding of the MAX in late 2020 and the eventual resumption of its deliveries seemed to address the problem. The aircraft, with its flaws fixed, became extremely popular with the airlines once again.  

This was certainly the case at the 2022 Farnborough Airshow, where the MAX received more orders than all other aircraft models combined. This success seemed to place Boeing far ahead of its largest rival, Airbus, which barely received any orders at all during the event.  

Read more:  Farnborough 2022 orders: was the show a disappointment? | Data 

However, if we take a brief look beyond the Farnborough Airshow orders, we can see a different story. With July 2022 orders and deliveries for both Airbus and Boeing finally available, let’s take a look at how the companies are doing. 

In 2021 Airbus left Boeing for dust, delivering 611 aircraft compared to 340 for the American company. However, Boeing received slightly more gross orders – 909 vs. 771. A greater number of Boeing’s orders were also cancelled. However, the company was still ahead in terms of net orders (535 vs. 507). 

Considering that in 2020 Boeing delivered just 157 aircraft, it clearly shows how important the ungrounding of the MAX was for the company.  

Yet, at the start of 2022, Boeing’s deliveries constantly fell short of the goal to surpass Airbus. While Boeing edged slightly ahead during January, it was unable to replicate this performance and, as of July 2022, is still lagging behind its competitor. 


The number of orders was even more one-sided. Boeing received more orders in January and May, yet that was not enough, and Airbus finished the first half of 2022 with 442 gross orders against Boeing’s 226. 

By July, the imbalance became even more apparent. Just before Boeing began to attract attention for its Farnborough success, Airbus bagged some of its largest orders of the year with China’s top airlines purchasing almost 300 European jets. 


This bumped Airbus far ahead of Boeing in terms of orders. Even if we adjust for cancellations, the European manufacturer is still in the lead with 656 net orders this year against Boeing’s 312. 

So, is Boeing on track to re-establish itself as the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer in 2022? Not even close. And although the company’s orders are improving, giving the planemaker a decent chance of showing a good deliveries performance in the future, Airbus still holds a comfortable lead in this regard. 

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