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A record Backlog and record First Half deliveries.

(The latest figures we have are to the end of June.)

The backlog crept up again in June, to a new high, though the number of widebody aircraft on firm order dropped by what is probably the largest number ever. Cancellations, high delivery numbers and just one order contributed to the fall. In terms of aircraft deliveries, there was a record Second Quarter and a record First Half. Airbus has delivered eight more aircraft than in the First Half of last year while Boeing has delivered 36 more.

June was something of a record month for Boeing. The U.S. manufacturer's backlog went over 5,200 aircraft for the first time and the 737 backlog went over 3,900 aircraft for the first time. In addition, the company delivered a record number of aircraft in a single month. There were 71 Boeing deliveries in June - the previous record of 68 was set last December - and both the 737 and 787 programs delivered the largest number of aircraft in a single month. This contributed to Boeing having 181 deliveries in the Second Quarter which was not just a Q2 record, it was also an all-time quarterly record for the manufacturer.

Airbus has not been left out in terms of records. While the European manufacturer's overall backlog at the end of June was 13 aircraft lower than the high at the end of December last year, the A320 backlog went over 3,100 aircraft for the first time and the A321 backlog reached 1,174 which is also a new high. One does have to make a clear distinction between neo and ceo here though. The A320neo backlog has reached a new high of 2,210 and the A321neo backlog increased to 584 aircraft in June, also a high. The A321ceo backlog also increased in June and currently stands at 590 aircraft, just six more than the neo.

In terms of deliveries, Airbus had a record Second Quarter but not an all-time quarterly record. The company delivered 162 new aircraft in Q2, 19 fewer than in Q4 last year but 11 more than in Q2 last year. With 237 deliveries in the First Half, it was a record First Half for Airbus, beating the total in the First Half of last year by eight aircraft.

 While the overall figures show both manufacturers with higher quarterly and First Half delivery numbers, a closer look at individual programs shows some fairly large changes. The Airbus single-aisle mix, for example, is completely different to the mix last year. There have been 18 fewer A320 deliveries and no A318 deliveries, but there have been three more A319 and 20 more A321 deliveries. The increase in the number of A321s going out to customers is quite a big surprise. In the Second Quarter this program had 36 deliveries which is the largest number in a single quarter, ever. That helped to push the First Half figure to 67 which in turn is a first half record for the program

Boeing's 737 deliveries are not so much a different mix as a reflection of increased production rates. There have been two fewer 737-700 deliveries than in the First Half of last year, but there have been 10 more 737-800 and 13 more 737-900ER deliveries.

The Boeing program that really stands out and which has boosted the company's widebody numbers is the 787. The first 787-9 was delivered in June which helped to take the 787 Q2 total to 29, or 13 more than in Q2 last year. The First Half total is 48 deliveries which is 31 more than in the first six months of last year. However, Boeing has been less successful with the three other widebody programs. There have so far been half the number of 747 deliveries as in the First Half of last year, 11 fewer 767 deliveries (only one, the last 767-300ER on backlog, was delivered in the First Half) and there has been just one more 777 delivery.

 In terms of single-aisle and widebody deliveries in the Second Quarter there were new records for each segment but in both cases they were records for a Second Quarter rather than records for a single quarter. There were 250 single-aisle deliveries in Q2 which is, in fact, exactly the same number as in the Fourth Quarter of last year which in turn was both a Q4 record and an all time record. So the Q2 figure actually equals the all-time record.

There were 93 widebody deliveries in the Second Quarter which is a new Q2 record and which represents an increase of eight on the second quarter figure of last year. The all-time quarterly widebody record was set in Q4 of 2012 (105) and there were 103 widebody deliveries in Q4 of last year. Consequently the Second Quarter figure this year works out to be the third largest for a single quarter.

Turning to deliveries in the Second Half of this year, it is clear that once again there will be a new record. To meet projections for the whole of 2014, Airbus will need to have about 334 deliveries in the Second Half or 31 more than in the First Half, and Boeing will need to have about 377 deliveries in the Second Half, 35 more than in the First Half. The 2014 Airbus projection is for about the same number of deliveries as last year.

Airbus had delivered 303 aircraft by the end of June and will need to deliver an extra 19 A320 Family aircraft and an extra 12 widebodies to meet a figure of about 637 deliveries by the end of the year. First deliveries of the A350 will help. Airbus will also need about 55 A330 deliveries which is two more than in the First Half.

Boeing delivered 342 aircraft in the First Half (239 single-aisles and 103 widebodies) and will need an extra 35 widebody deliveries in the Second Half to meet projections for the year. The 239 737 deliveries is exactly half the expected total for the year. An additional four 777 deliveries and an additional 14 787 deliveries will be needed in the Second Half. Boeing will also need to deliver 12 747s in the Second Half (six more than in the First Half) and 12 767s (11 more than in the First Half). Production of these two programs has not exactly stopped, but the number of deliveries in the First Half slowed right down.

What this all points to is a total of about 711 deliveries in the Second Half of this year, roughly 38 more than in the Second Half of last year and 66 more than in the First Half of this year.

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Philip Abbott,
Editor & Publisher.