had the smallest backlog drop since the pandemic began. The last time that there was an even smaller drop was in September
2011 when it went down by two aircraft. There are now 16 fewer single-aisles but 13 more widebodies on backlog than at the
start of this year. For much of last year the backlog stood at over 12,000 aircraft but it has been over 13,000 for the last
At the end of January Airbus had 40
fewer single-aisles and six fewer widebodies on backlog than at the start of this year. Boeing had 24 more single-aisles and
19 more widebodies on backlog. There are now 11,293 single-aisle aircraft and 1,779 widebody aircraft on firm backlog order.
Compared to 12 months ago, there are now 76 more single-aisles and seven more widebodies on backlog.
Boeing’s single-aisle and widebody backlogs have grown over the
last 12 months but Airbus single-aisle and widebody backlogs are now lower than at the end of January last year. Boeing has
155 more single-aisles and 55 more widebodies on backlog while Airbus has 79 fewer single-aisles and 48 fewer widebodies on
The difference between the two companies
is largely a function of order and delivery numbers. Airbus has taken fewer orders in both segments than Boeing but has had
far more single-aisle and widebody deliveries than their competitor. Cancellations have also played a part in this; there
have been 693 single-aisle and 44 widebody cancellations in the last 12 months. It is quite clear that the single-aisle backlog,
in particular, has been impacted by all the cancellations. Both manufacturers have had relatively large numbers of single-aisle
cancellations but the 737 MAX has had 393 in the last 12 months. The MAX has taken orders for 804 aircraft in the last 12
months but there have been 251 deliveries. Add in the cancellations and this program’s backlog is currently 160 aircraft
larger that it was at the end of January last year.
A320neo Family backlog is currently 63 aircraft lower than it was at the end of January last year. This is a one percent drop
which is hardly noticeable. The thing to remember about the A320neo Family is that it accounts for 51% of the entire single-aisle
backlog and is currently over 1,600 aircraft larger than the MAX backlog. Another point here is that while the A320neo Family
backlog is slightly lower than it was a year ago, the A321neo backlog (which is smaller than the MAX backlog) is currently
over 360 aircraft larger than it was a year ago. This is a gain that is 200 aircraft larger than the MAX gain.
In the widebody segment the key programs are the A350 and the 787.
There were 508 A350s on backlog 12 months ago and there are 450 on backlog now. The combined backlog of the A350-900 and A350-1000
(the passenger versions of the A350) is currently 69 aircraft lower than at the end of January last year but Airbus recently
launched the A350F which has 11 aircraft currently on backlog. At a time of rapidly rising fuel prices, the A350F is an attractive
proposition to the freight companies and more orders can be expected in the coming months.
Boeing’s 787 program does have a larger backlog than the A350, which is a direct competitor.
At the end of January there were 488 787s on backlog, down from the 512 at the end of January last year. What has helped preserve
the 787 backlog is the fact that there have been no deliveries for the last seven months, but there have been orders for 12
aircraft in that time. This is a troubled program; in the last 12 months there have been orders for 21 787s but only 14 deliveries
and 28 cancellations.