Airbus has bested Boeing in terms of orders and deliveries in H1 2023, particularly after contrasting experiences for the two aircraft manufacturers at the Paris Air Show in June 2023.
This contrast is especially visible in the orders column, with Boeing consistently managing to sell more aircraft than Airbus throughout 2023. However, this year’s Paris Air Show changed the Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEM) fortunes, with the European plane maker amassing an impressive number of orders during the event.
In terms of deliveries, Airbus continued to improve its production rate, as did Boeing. However, several production issues during the year meant that the United States (US)-based OEM has delivered fewer aircraft during the first months of 2023.
Airbus selling aircraft like hotcakes
Though Airbus struggled to finalize agreements to sell aircraft to customers during the first five months of 2023, a spur of sales and finalization of orders allowed the European OEM to recover.
In total, during H1 2023 Airbus added 1080 gross (1044 net) orders to its backlog, including two major sales to two Indian airlines, Air India and IndiGo. While the former announced the order in February 2023, finalizing it during the Paris Air Show 2023, the latter was only rumored to be finalizing a huge aircraft deal.
In fact, it transpired that IndiGo’s order would be the largest-ever aircraft order in the history of the industry, with the low-cost carrier signing up for a total of 500 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft. The exact split between the two types will be finalized at a later date, as noted by the manufacturer’s Orders & Deliveries file for June 2023.
Overall, Airbus added 33 A220-300, one A319neo, 361 A320neo, 541 A321neo, one A330-800neo, six A330-900neo, four A350F, 21 A350-900, and 76 A350-1000 aircraft net orders during H1 2023.
In terms of deliveries, during the month of June 2023, Airbus delivered 72 aircraft, its record so far during H1 2023. With both manufacturers battling supply chain problems during the early part of the year, there have been some signs that those pressures are starting to ease.
In comparison, Airbus delivered 63 aircraft in May 2023 and 54 in April 2023.
Throughout the first six months of the year, the majority of the manufacturer’s 316 deliveries comprised of the A321neo (147 aircraft), A320neo (106 aircraft), and A220-300 (25 aircraft). The European OEM also delivered three A319neos, while on the twin-aisle front, Airbus handed over two A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), 12 A330-900neo, 16 A350-900, and five A350-1000s.
Boeing struggling to keep pace
Despite the fact that Boeing kept improving its aircraft delivery numbers, a slower Paris Air Show meant that it lost out to its main competitor across the Atlantic in terms of sales.
Overall, including Air India’s finalization for an order for a total of 220 aircraft, Boeing booked 527 gross orders in H1 2023. Excluding the Indian full-service carrier’s large deal, Avolon’s order for 40 737 MAX aircraft during the Paris Air Show was the second-largest order in the US OEM’s backlog for the period.
However, Riyadh Air also finalized its order for 39 Boeing 787s in June 2023. Whether that was done during the Paris Air Show remains unclear, as neither Riyadh Air nor Boeing announced the finalized agreement at the event or later in the month.
In June 2023, Boeing added a total of 304 gross orders, including two from unidentified customers: one unnamed airline ordered 10 737 MAX aircraft, while the other signed up for four 777Fs.
In terms of deliveries, Boeing continued to improve its monthly production rate. During the six month-period, the OEM handed over 266 aircraft, of which 60 came June 2023. In April and May 2023, the manufacturer delivered 26 and 50 aircraft respectively.
Boeing has had to deal with several production issues during the period, including problems with the 737 MAX, 767F and KC-46, and 787. The manufacturer previously told FlightGlobal that its yearly delivery goal for the 737 MAX of between 400 and 450 has remained in place, despite a collapsed rail bridge causing a logistical conundrum for Boeing.
Out of the 266 total aircraft it delivered in H1 2023, a very large majority (211 jets) was the 737 MAX, with Boeing also delivering 31 787s during the six-month period. Other deliveries include five P-8 Poseidon (based on the 737 NextGeneration (NG), the final 747 in the form of a 747-8F to Atlas Air, one KC-46, eight 767F, and nine 777F aircraft.