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More deliveries than by the end of May last year, due to Boeing.
(The latest figures we have are to the end of May.) 

 

By the end of May, Airbus had delivered exactly the same number of single-aisles as at the end of May last year, and five fewer widebodies. In overall terms there have been more deliveries this year than in the same period last year but this is entirely due to higher Boeing numbers.

 

Orders are nice but the means to increase production would be nicer. Airbus and Boeing are sitting on enormous backlogs but ramping up is proving extremely difficult, certainly for Airbus. The European manufacturer has so far delivered 243 new aircraft, five fewer than by the end of May last year, and four fewer than by the end of May 2013. Airbus’ single-aisle delivery numbers in the Jan-May period of the last three years has hardly changed; 195 in 2013 and 196 last year and 196 again this year.

               

Airbus’ widebody delivery numbers have dropped from 52 aircraft in Jan-May last year (the same number as in 2013) to 47 so far this year. The company’s single-aisle and widebody mix is a little different, but not very different: So far this year there have been exactly the same number of A380 deliveries, seven fewer A330 and two A350 deliveries – there were none until the first aircraft was delivered to Qatar Airways in December last year. The big change, such as it may be, is 10 fewer A320 deliveries this year and eight more A321 deliveries.

 

All of Boeing’s major programs, single-aisle and widebody, had more deliveries by the end of May than at the same time last year. There have been eight more 737 deliveries and the total of 201 by the end of May is 22 more than in the Jan-May 2013 period. Boeing has also delivered two more 747s, seven more 767s and one more 777. The really big change is in the 787 numbers; 54 so far this year which is 21 more than in the same period last year.

 

That slight single-aisle aircraft increase translates into more engine installs than at the same time last year. There have been six more CFM56 installs and 10 more V2500 installs. There have also been 52 more widebody engine installs this year. Rolls-Royce and P&W have had fewer but the Engine Alliance has had eight more and GE has had 56 more, helped along by the higher 787 figures. This means that GE accounted for 60% of all widebody engines installed by the end of May.

 

What is interesting here is that these higher delivery numbers have, in fact, had some impact on the aircraft and engine backlog order books but that is largely because the number of aircraft and the number of engines ordered by the end of May falls far short of the delivery figures.

 

The large commercial jet backlog is currently 193 aircraft lower than at the start of the year. Airbus has 18 fewer jets on backlog and Boeing has 175 fewer. The other manufacturers have had no change. But there were still over 12,700 aircraft on firm backlog order at the end of May which represents over nine years of work.

 

The number of engines on firm order, or backlog, is currently 440 below the figure at the start of the year. That was when there were over 21,800 engines on the books, an industry record. The figure at the end of May was 21,366 engines. With the notable exception of Roll-Royce, all the engine manufacturers had smaller order books at the end of May than at the start of the year.

 

CFM has had the largest order book drop this year and had 12,678 engines on firm order at the end of May, 372 fewer than at the start of the year. P&W had over 3,500 engines on firm order at the end of May, a drop of 158 since the start of the year. GE had 152 fewer engines on firm order and there are 24 fewer GP7200s on the books. Rolls-Royce has taken orders for 364 engines this year and has had 104 installs. The U.K. company has over 2,800 engines on order, 266 more than at the start of the year.

 

For Airbus and Boeing, as well as Pratt & Whitney and CFM International, these may be fairly large order book falls but they did have the Paris Air Show to look forward to. That has now been and gone and while not all the firm orders announced at Paris will actually go on the books by the end of June, most and perhaps all will be on the books by the end of the year. The numbers are actually quite large: Airbus announced orders and commitments for over 420 aircraft; Boeing announced orders and commitments for over 260 aircraft. CFM took orders and commitments for over 800 engines ( worth $14 billion) and Pratt & Whitney had orders and commitments for over 400 engines.

 

It will not be difficult for Airbus to have a new backlog high at the end of June. The company’s last high was at the end of April with a backlog of 6,399 aircraft and the figure at the end of May was just 31 aircraft less. Boeing’s last backlog high was at the end of December last year. If all the firm orders announced at Paris went on the books in June, Boeing’s backlog would still be below the December figure but if some of the commitments were finalised, things might be quite different.

 

Almost all the engine orders announced at the show were described as firm so CFM and P&W are almost certain to have record order books at the end of June. This is less likely to be the case with the other engine manufacturers.

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Philip Abbott,
Editor & Publisher.