Airbus, Boeing production backlogs stretch to late this decade, early next decade

Airbus and Boeing production backlogs stretch to late this decade and into the beginning of next decade for most of their commercial aircraft, based on today’s production rates.

We previously wrote about the waning sales of the 777 Classic and the A330. Some mainstream media subsequently examined 777 Classic sales but not the A330 sales.

Both OEMs will be challenged to meet intended production timelines for select currently in-production models.

  • Airbus and Boeing officials each said they plan to build the A320ceo and 737NG families two years into the entry-into-service of the A320neo and 737 MAX families. Airbus’ ceo backlog appears to meet this desire, but the 737NG currently has a backlog that only matches the 2017 EIS of the 737 MAX.
  • Airbus says it plans to produce the A330 into the 2020 decade (most statements suggest until about 2022).
  • Boeing has a 2020 EIS for the new 777X program, but the backlog of the 777 Classic currently extends only to 2017.
  • The USAF wants replacements for its 747-200 presidential fleet in 2021 but Boeing’s backlog for the 747-8 only extends to 2017.

The following chart is based on current backlogs reported by Airbus and Boeing in respective data charts; and it is based on the current production rates of each program. For the new airplane programs, the chart assumes the current production rate and does not take into account the stepped ramp-up for the A320neo, the 737 MAX, the A350 XWB or the 777X. For the latter two, production rates are assumed at the A350’s announce plan of 10/mo and the 777 Classic rate of 8.3/mo. The 787 rate is assumed at 10/mo, although the rate is not quite there yet.

Backlog 112013

Sources: Airbus, Boeing, Leeham Co Analysis

Airbus is considering increasing the A320 production rate to more than 42/mo (we assume 47/mo, to match Boeing’s 737 announced rate hike in 2017). Boeing is also studying taking 737 rates to 52/mo by 2019. We figure Airbus will match Boeing rates.

Boeing announced plans to take the 787 rate to 14/mo “by the end of the decade” (our information is 2018). We figure Airbus will boost A350 rates to at least 13/mo and attempt a high rate to remain competitive with the 787 and the 777X.

Airbus clearly is challenged to maintain production of the A330 beyond the near term. This is in part why Airbus launched the A330 “Lite” program in an effort to boost sales.

10 Comments on “Airbus, Boeing production backlogs stretch to late this decade, early next decade

  1. The chart says military, VIP, and BBJ excluded.

    I think your A-330 numbers include the A-330MRTT(about 15 new tankers still to be delivered), and I believe the one A-380VIP is included, too (Kingdom Holding, who has since sold it prior to scheduled delivery in 2014). On the Boeing side, the P-8, B-737AEW, C-40 are not included. You already pointed out the KC-46 and new Presidential replacement B-747-8 are not included.

    But these numbers will not change your chart a whole lot.

    • The difference between A330 and B767 with or without military sales is quite huge:
      15 A330MRTT against 179 KC-46. Planned production rate for KC-46 is 15 aircraft a year until 2025. That is just slightly less than todays production rate. Commercial B767 production will be replaced by KC-46 production until 2025.
      Total backlog 225 B767 and 275 A330.

      Just about 120 B737 based P-8 will be built. That is just production rate of less than 3 months.

      It looks like A320CEO is nearly sold out.

      • RE…”Just about 120 B737 based P-8 will be built. That is just production rate of less than 3 months.”

        My swag for p-8 production is much more than 3 months. Since it is military, the rate will be very dependant on military funding which probably not support a rate of over 4 to 5 /month average long term. Also there will be foreign sales and its funding.

      • To clarify my numbers.
        “3 months” is not about a production rate of 3 military B737 per month. The math was 120 aircraft are less than 3 months of B737 production. Therefore military B737 production is negligible for the whole picture while commercial B767 (except of 3 all freighters) are just 20 % of all undelivered orders.

      • Only four of the 179 KC-46As have actually been ordered. A small number of P8s have actually been ordered. We agree that the numbers almost certainly will be but they have not been as yet, according to the Boeing website.

        KCTB is correct about the inclusion of the Airbus VIPs and MRTTs. Airbus doesn’t break out the MRTTs and we didn’t think to look at the A380 VIPs since there are so few.

      • From what someone(Aeroturbopower I think) calculated, the CEO has not only been sold out, but the slots have been overbooked too.

      • There are VIP planes in the numbers for Boeing models that are included in the count so the net result would be pretty negligible.

  2. We are always told that production rates are held back by the limitations of the supply chain. That being so, it would make sense to divert internal and external resources from the A330 to the A350. I don’t know how transferable the two programs are.

    The same may apply to the 777 Classic and the 787.

  3. So, A359 entry into service is to happen in Q3 2014, not in 2015 as was reasserted on this blog as recently as about one month ago ? Kudos, this is a wise move.

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