Boeing outperforms Airbus in orders in Q1 2023

Boeing outperformed Airbus in orders in Q1 2023, excluding Qatar Airways re-added orders for the A321neo and A350
Thor Jorgen Udvang /

While Airbus and Boeing delivered a similar number of aircraft in Q1 2023, Boeing surpassed Airbus in net orders, according to data from the manufacturer’s most recent quarterly results.  

Strong delivery numbers despite pauses 

While Boeing had to temporarily pause 767F deliveries, including its military derivative the KC-46A and the 787, in Q1 2023, it still managed to deliver more aircraft than Airbus. 

Overall, Boeing handed over 130 aircraft to customers in Q1 2023, the majority of which (111) were the 737 MAX, the US manufacturer also delivered two P-8 Poseidon, a military derivative of the 737 NextGeneration (NG). Throughout the quarter, it also delivered 11 Boeing 787s, four 777Fs, a single 767-300F, and the last-ever 747 to Atlas Air. 

The manufacturer was forced to stop the deliveries of the 767F and the KC-46A due to an issue at a supplier, which failed to follow the correct cleaning and paint adhesion procedures of the central wing fuel tank. While it was not a critical safety issue, it could have resulted in clogged fuel filters and, subsequently, restricted fuel flow to the jet’s engines. 

Boeing paused deliveries of the 787 on February 23, 2023, when the planemaker announced that it had found an “analysis error by our supplier related to the 787 forward pressure bulkhead”. Deliveries were resumed in March 2023. 

According to an analysis of data conducted by AeroTime, of the 11 Boeing 787s delivered by the OEM in Q1 2023, eight were out of inventory, having flown for several years or months prior to delivery. 

Much like with deliveries, Boeing’s best-selling aircraft was the 737 MAX, with 78 orders from various airlines, including Japan Airlines and Greater Bay Airlines. EVA Air and Lufthansa ordered five and seven Boeing 787-9s, while a pair of unidentified customers finalized deals for eight 787-8 and seven 787-10 aircraft. 

Finally, the United States Air Force (USAF) ordered 15 KC-46A Pegasus refuelers. 

In total, Boeing booked 120 orders in Q1 2023. 

Narrow-body aircraft deliveries dominate 

Much like Boeing, Airbus’ deliveries and sales were dominated by narrow-body aircraft throughout the first three months of the year, including the A220 and A320neo families. 

In total, Airbus delivered 127 jets in Q1 2023, namely 10 A220-30, two A319neo, 45 A320neo, and 59 A321neo. However, it delivered only 11 wide-body aircraft, split between one A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), five A330-900neo, and five A350-900s. 

Airbus’ last A220-100 delivery was in October 2022, with the European OEM also handing over its most recent A330-800neo and A350-1000 in November and December 2022, respectively. All three programs have relatively small backlogs and, as of March 2023, 37 A220-100, four A330-800neo, and 104 A350-1000s are yet to be delivered by Airbus to customers across the globe. 

At the same time, throughout Q1 2023, Airbus re-added 50 A321neo and 23 A350-1000 aircraft to the backlog from Qatar Airways after the two companies solved their legal dispute over surface paint degradation on the aircraft type, while Lufthansa ordered 10 A350-1000s. However, it still did not book a single order for the A220-100 or A330neo. 

Overall, Airbus added 142 (69 excluding Qatar Airways’ orders) net orders following 14 cancelations. Its best-seller was the A320neo family: The manufacturer sold one A319neo, 27 A320neo, and 60 (10 excluding Qatar Airways) A321neos. Other orders include 12 A220-300, four A350F, and five A350-900 aircraft from Delta Air Lines, presumably KLM, and British Airways, respectively. 

The four A350Fs were associated with an undisclosed customer in Airbus filings. However, KLM announced that it had ordered the quartet of freighters in January 2023 to be eventually operated by its subsidiary, Martinair. 

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