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There have been record numbers of aircraft and engine deliveries.
(The latest figures we have are to the end of November 2017.)

By the end of November there had been 1,285 aircraft deliveries and 2,622 engine installs. In both cases these are record numbers for the Jan-November period. Compared to the same period last year there have been 23 more aircraft and 40 more engine installs. Airbus has had a record year so far and has set a new company record for widebody deliveries by the end of November. Boeing has had a record 11 months for single-aisle deliveries. CFM and Rolls-Royce have record numbers of new engine installs.

Orders are nice. Deliveries make shareholders and investors happy, especially when delivery numbers go up. By the end of November, Airbus had delivered 591 new large commercial jets which is 14 more than by the end of November last year. This was the largest number of Airbus deliveries in the Jan-Nov period ever. The European manufacturer did deliver 16 fewer single-aisles but widebody numbers were up 30 to 138 helped along by 69 A350-900 deliveries, 35 more than in the same period last year. Airbus has also delivered 121 A320neo jets, 78 more than by the end of November last year, plus the first 13 A321neo jets.

Bombardier has delivered 14 CSeries jets so far this year. Deliveries only started in 2016 and there were four by the end of November that year. 2017 is the first full year of production. Bombardier’s projection for the year was for between 30 and 35 deliveries but the final number will be less than that.

Boeing has out-delivered Airbus and Bombardier put together. The U.S. manufacturer has had 680 deliveries so far this year of which 468 are single-aisles, including the first 49 737 MAX jets. The single-aisle figure is a new Jan-Nov record for Boeing beating the previous record for this 11-month period, set in 2015, by 11 aircraft. But what will not be lost on Boeing is the fact that by the end of November 2016, Airbus had delivered 469 single-aisles. In addition, while Airbus has delivered more widebodies, by the end of November Boeing had delivered fewer than by the end of November 2016, and even fewer than by the end of November 2015. Boeing has delivered 212 widebodies this year, 40 fewer than in Jan-Nov 2015.

The drop in Boeing’s widebody delivery numbers means that by the end of November, the company had delivered one less jet aircraft, overall, than by the end of November 2016 and 29 fewer than by the end of November 2015. However, Boeing will easily have a record number of single-aisle deliveries in 2017 and only needs 27 single-aisle deliveries in December to match the company’s own annual record set in 2015. What is very clear from the U.S. manufacturer’s delivery numbers so far though is that their 2017 widebody total will not beat the previous record which was also set in 2015. Boeing needs 56 widebody deliveries in December to do that, and 46 just to match the 2016 total.

The largest number of widebodies that Boeing has ever delivered in a single month was 31, in December 2014. Boeing might have a record 2017 in terms of total delivery numbers, helped along by single-aisle deliveries, but will need more than 82 deliveries - a mix of both single-aisles and widebodies - in December to do that. Boeing’s record year was 2015 with 762 deliveries. As for meeting the projected delivery total this year - the figure was for about 778 deliveries – that is looking rather remote.

Airbus will very easily have a new annual widebody delivery record this year. The European manufacturer’s numbers will not be anywhere near those of their competitor, of course, but just seven widebody deliveries in December will do the trick.

In 2016 Airbus had 545 single-aisle deliveries which was a company annual record. There have been 453 so far this year which means that there need to be 92 single-aisle deliveries in December to match the 2016 total, and 93 to exceed it. The most Airbus has ever done in a single month is 76 single-aisle deliveries, in December 2016.

Airbus also might have a record 2017 in terms of delivery numbers, helped by the company’s increased widebody total. The Airbus annual record for deliveries was set in 2016 with 688 deliveries and there have been 591 so far this year so all that they need to beat the 2016 record is 98 deliveries in December. There were 111 Airbus deliveries in December 2016.

Getting to the projected 716 deliveries for 2017 might be a little difficult. It is probably best to stick with the idea that Airbus will have yet another record year.

Aircraft and Engine Orders and the Backlog: Aircraft orders for the Jan-Nov period have slowed. In January-November 2014 (the record year) there were orders for 2,324 single-aisle aircraft and 473 widebody aircraft. Single-aisle numbers have dwindled since then to the extent that by the end of November this year there were orders for 1,053. Widebody numbers have also dwindled; 473 in Jan-Nov 2014 to 234 by the end of November this year.

By the end of November Airbus had sold the lowest number of single-aisles and the lowest number of widebodies for the Jan-Nov period in years. Boeing had sold twice as many aircraft; the largest number of single-aisles since Jan-Nov 2014 and the largest number of widebodies since Jan-Nov 2015. Boeing’s total was 778 aircraft orders. The Airbus total was 388. COMAC’s C919 total was 121. All told, by the end of November there had been firm orders for 1,287 large commercial jets, two more than in the same period last year but fewer than by the end of November 2015 and November 2014.

In the engine market, CFM cleaned up with orders for 2,748 LEAP engines and 450 CFM56 engines taking their firm engine order book to a total of 15,514 or very nearly two thirds of all large commercial jet aircraft engines on firm order at the end of November. They are not even in the widebody market but, as a result, there is a new single-aisle engine order book high. The widebody engine order book has dropped.

It is not quite the same with aircraft. The large commercial jet aircraft backlog at the end of November was lower than at the start of the year; 11,034 single-aisle aircraft (-29) and 2,345 widebody aircraft (-147). This will change: Large aircraft orders announced at Dubai will be finalised by year end.

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Philip Abbott,
Editor & Publisher.