March 7, 2016, © Leeham Co.: The public relations battle between Airbus and Boeing was on full display at the annual conference last week of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) in Phoenix (AZ).
As usual, the respective officials of the two companies used numbers to make the case that their airplanes sold more than the other guy.
A320neo vs 737 MAX
Airbus likes to point out that the A320neo has captured 60% of the market since the program was launched in December 2010. (Figure 1.) More precisely, the number is 59.5% through February 29.
Boeing doesn’t like this number. Officials claims that since the launch of the 737 MAX in July 2011, with the large order from American Airlines, Boeing has captured 50% of the market.
The data simply doesn’t support Boeing’s claim. The data shows the MAX family has captured only 44.5% of the sales since program launch. (Figure 2.)
Boeing then falls back on comparing the 737-8 vs the A320neo, since program launch of the former, to make its case—and here, Boeing is correct. Narrowing the comparison to these sub-types only, the 737-8 captured 50.8% of the market. The sole sale, for 100 MAX 200s to Ryanair, is based on the 8 MAX and is included in this figure.
Then there is the 737-9. Boeing likes to ignore the sales comparison vs the A321neo, which is outselling the 9 MAX by a factor of 4:1 since the program launches. (Figure 3.) The A321neo has captured nearly 90% of the sales in each of the last two years.
“The heart of the market,” Boeing claims, is the 160 passenger sector filled by the 737-8, where Boeing wins since the MAX program launch.
777 v A350-1000
Boeing, however, isn’t shy about making such a lopsided comparison of the 777-300ER and 777-9 vs the A350-1000. Officials showed this chart at the recent ISTAT and Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conferences:
It’s a classic case of Boeing relying on one argument to make its case (the 777 v A350-1000) and ignoring the same argument when the data works in favor of Airbus.
There are numbers, and there are numbers.