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Fewer aircraft ordered in the First Half than in previous years.
(The latest figures we have published are to the end of June.) 

 

The industry may have been expecting a much larger volume of aircraft and engine orders in the First Half, particularly since there was a major air show in June. In the event, fewer aircraft and fewer engines were ordered than in the First Half of previous years. The sole exception was the number of widebody engines ordered; it was the best First Half for a number of years.

 

When, at the end of a major air show, the manufacturers talk of the orders and commitments they have received, you can bet that the commitments part is a fairly large number which makes the total much more impressive. Big air shows attract a lot of attention and generate a huge amount of publicity which the manufacturers like to exploit. The only issue that one can have with this is that “commitments” can mean almost anything from a letter of intent to a memorandum of understanding to a vague agreement to place an order subject to certain conditions.

 

Hundreds of aircraft and engine orders and commitments were announced at the Paris Air Show in June but not many orders actually went onto the books by the end of the month. That is not at all unusual and sometimes orders appear on the books a month or two after they have been announced.

 

Commitments generally do turn into firm orders eventually, but sometimes they take several months to do so though it is actually quite useful to know that there is business in the pipeline, so to speak.

 

In June, a total of 296 large commercial jets and 878 large civil jet engines were firm ordered. In terms of aircraft orders, it was the best month so far this year. In terms of engine orders, it was the best month since July last year. Most of the aircraft ordered during the month were single-aisles; a total of 243. Similarly, most of the engines ordered were for single-aisle aircraft, a total of 778. This means that 53 widebody aircraft and 100 widebody engines were also firm ordered in June.

 

It was the best month for single-aisle aircraft orders since last December and the second best month this year for widebody orders; 64 were ordered in March. It was also the best month for single-aisle engine orders since last July when 1,200 were ordered. More widebody engines were ordered in March and April this year though.

 

June gave a much needed boost to Second Quarter orders but it was not exactly a massive boost. There were orders for 387 single-aisle aircraft in Q2, the lowest for a Q2 since 2012. More single-aisles were ordered in Q2 of last year than in the First Half of this year. The Q2 widebody order intake amounted to 83 aircraft. In Q2 of 2013, 121 widebodies were ordered.

 

A total of 882 single-aisle engines were ordered in the Second Quarter which is a large number, but considerably lower than the intake in Q3 and Q4 of last year. The Second Quarter widebody engine order intake amounted to 356 which is a huge improvement on the 18 ordered in Q2 of last year but some widebody engine order announcements may have been held over for Farnborough last July; the First Half intake last year was 142 widebody engines and then, suddenly, 588 were ordered in July.

 

Considering the size of the large commercial jet backlog, some slowing of the order intake is perhaps to be expected. After all, production slots for the most popular aircraft programs are sold out for some time to come. But the industry was probably expecting a larger First Half order intake, not 382 fewer aircraft and 282 fewer engines than in the First Half of last year.


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Philip Abbott,
Editor & Publisher.