Boeing and Airbus achieve 800 deliveries for 2018

By Bjorn Fehrm 

Jan.  9, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing delivered 806 aircraft during 2018 while Airbus delivered 800. Both manufacturers missed their 2018 targets, Boeing by 10 aircraft and Airbus by 20 (as the A220 was not included in the original guidance of 800 deliveries for 2018).

Both OEMs struggled with engine deliveries to their best-selling 737 MAX and A320neo. Airbus added A330neo Trent 7000 delivery problems to the mix.

Boeing celebrates the 10,000th 737 delivery to Southwest March 2018. Source: Boeing

Commercial aircraft demand calls for even higher delivery rates

Both Boeing and Airbus broke delivery records for 2018, yet the customers ask for more. Both are sold out on the Single Aisles for years. But ramping deliveries further is problematic, the suppliers can’t keep pace.

The delivery problems for the 737 MAX and A320neo come from highly ambitious production ramps for the engine OEMs. CFM and Pratt & Whitney are asked to increase deliveries of the CFM Leap and PW1100G at rates never seen before after an introduction of new civil engines.

The engine OEMs are limited to how fast deliveries can be increased further. Boeing is at a 737 build rate of 48/month for 2018 and Airbus at 52. Boeing has announced an increase to rate 57 whereas Airbus has decided on 60 and is talking about rate 70.

We will return with a more detailed analysis of Orders and Deliveries tomorrow, as Airbus will reveal the audited figures on a type level after the European stock market closes today. Boeing revealed its figures Tuesday.

40 Comments on “Boeing and Airbus achieve 800 deliveries for 2018

      • The transition from NG to MAX seems to have run into a range of issues that were nicely masked by the engine shortage. ( delivery rate : ~48/month )

  1. siterelated:
    Anybody else seeing posted commentary only visible after longish delays
    and never an email notifier on answers though requested?

    • yes, for several months. I just assumed Scott had added human mod approval to the process due to issues with inappropriate posts…

      • Ditto: It has come back a few times with instant update and the ability to edit. Last was turn of the year and the edit was up to 10 minutes.

        I think they changed the log in system and the old method of posting gets left out.

        I may try to created the new ID and see what happens, not there yet.

  2. The Korean war jet engine production ramp up was quicker, “J47 became the world’s most produced gas turbine. More than 35,000 J47 engines were delivered by the end of the 1950s”. But you are right for commercial engines, hopefully do GE and PWA make money on these Engines already at new production as it cost to increase production rates.

    • I seem to remember that GE production was set up by a former Junkers engineer? ( afair biography information at the Junkers Museum Dessau.)

      • Most of the GE J47 production was done by Allison in Indianapolis on goverment order if I remember my history right.
        The most well known German at GE was Gerhard Neumann who started in Lynn MA right after WWII getting a huge compressor rig working right before moving to Evendale and J79 fame. There were Germans “everywhere” like at Lycoming and at Snecma, there they named their first fighter engine after the prison camp they came from in Bavaria “Atar”. The poor BMW Germans stuck in Russian part of Berlin were shipped to Ukraine to design the Tu-95 engine and could move home after its certification.

        • Can’t say there is the least bit of sympathy for those “poor “BMW workers.

          As bad as it was for the Western Allies, the results were vastly worse for Russian peoples.

          • The German Rocket designers were even more popular to get employed by both the US and the Soviets. Most were “offered” positions in the US but a few key Germans “went” to the Soviet programs, one of them was the key controls design engineer. He was missed by the US paperclip program, The rush for Intercontinental range rockets was closely connected to nuclear bombs so politicians could evaporate any suitable size country at will.

          • Ironic they did so much to defend a country that they tried to obliterate isn’t it?

            Poor? No sympathy

            The same for the US. While the majority of us did not, too many did vote and we are stuck with what got picked.

            I hope we can recover.

    • That’s really good news for BBD and Airbus.

      I wonder how many other airlines are going to think, time to place some orders before all to be slots get reserved by someone else… I know that the US domestic market is, well, skewed, but if other airlines start seeing Delta pinching market share, increasing profits, getting rave revues from passengers, that’ll cause some head scratching.

      It’s even more remarkable that Airbus got in on this for nothing.

      Might we see something like what’s happened to the VLAs? 787 / A350 make 777x and A380 hard to sell. Might the C series make 737 A320 harder to sell?

      • If the customers feel this new technology airplane would be good for business with a simple 12 foot stretch (from the -300) then AB is going to have to make a decision on what to do. They might just do it and then devote their NSA to a 6 across 180 to 220 (two-class) carbon fiber wing plane. Originally, Delta wanted Bombardier to make this plane in the 150 two-class length. Now Delta is already up-ordering more of the -300s than the -100s. This up-gauging was the impetus for Boeing to cry foul and try to stop this plane from succeeding. Boeing did “their homework” on the CSeries.

        • So, the -300 wipes out the -7? Seems like the -7 was wiped out already. the -500 as well? Ooops, there goes the range and its under the limit again.

          Or Embraer sudden finding of more range that is still under listed?

          Its less they did their homework and more used their huge club.

          The 787 sold at very low prices initially as well.

          So the A220-X (now) can’t do the same thing or should be not allow Boeing to sell in the EU or Airbus to sell in the US?

          And part of this is harm to Boeing and I see none.

          They did kill a nice order of F/A-18s though, well done Boeing.

      • Hello Matthew,

        Regarding: “Might we see something like what’s happened to the VLAs? 787 / A350 make 777x and A380 hard to sell. Might the C series make 737 A320 harder to sell?”

        Sticking to the part of the airline world that I have frequent experience with, I have seen the US big three generally slowly up-gauging on domestic routes for about the last 5 years, after a period from 9-11, to about 2010, when the fad (or perhaps necessity) was down-gauging and/or capacity neutral fleet modernization in their domestic networks. In the specific case of Delta, while its orders for 130 seat A220-300’s are for aircraft with a seating capacity similar to Delta’s 132 seat A319-100’s and 124 seat 737-700’s, to get the correct big picture I think it must not be forgotten that Delta is simultaneously bragging to investors how it will be making more money every time it retires another 149 seat MD88 and replaces it with a newly delivered 180 seat 737-900ER or 192 seat A321 ceo. See Delta CEO Ed Bastian’s remarks below. I would say that the A220 will make A319’s and 737-700’s harder to sell to the US big three, but for the time being not have much effect on their demand for larger A32X and 737 models, and demand for those models with 180 or more seats will continue to be especially strong. Also important to keep in mind, is that Delta’s management has been consistently stating that the primary use of the A220 will be to up gauge routes currently flown by 76 seat regional jets.

        Following is an excerpt from a Bernstein Strategic Decisions CEO Conference interview with Delta CEO Ed Bastian on 5-30-18. See the link after the excerpt for the full interview.

        “Q: But if you get bigger does it actually do much for your cost structure or is it more profitable…?

        A: Oh, it’s tremendous for our cost structure, because the – one of the things that we’ve been investing and we call it up-gauging within the industry as we bring bigger planes in. I’ll give you a typical example like, every MD-88 that we retire, we still have close to 100 to retire over the next two years to three years. We will bring in an Airbus A321 or a Boeing 737. That plane, the new plane will have up to 50 more seats on it, so tremendous more revenue potential, tremendous more cost efficiency, 25% more fuel efficiency and better customer experience at the same time.

        So the return on every one of those planes that were taken out versus in we’ve got great pricing on the new planes coming in too, and every plane we’re putting in and we’re doing that play over and over and over again. So, yes, you’re getting great efficiency from the up-gauge in the bigger planes and you’re doing that without having to create new departures, because you’re creating more market capacity and share of market from your existing base.”

        • As airline industry purchasing fads have changed over the years, Delta’s rationale for purchasing 737-900ER’s has evolved.

          When the original 737-900ER order was placed in August 2011, Delta emphasized that the 737-900ER’s would be a capacity neutral replacement aircraft.

          “The order will enable Delta to add 100 fuel-efficient, state-of-the-art 180-seat aircraft to its fleet, replacing on a capacity-neutral basis older technology aircraft that will be retired from the fleet. The new aircraft will improve the company’s profitability while providing customers with an industry-leading on-board experience. With a range of 3,200 nautical miles, the Boeing 737-900ER can operate on any domestic route offered by Delta.”

          Advance the calendar from August 2011 to May 2018, and according to the quote from Delta CEO Ed Bastian in my previous post above, newly delivered 737-900ER’s are now being used to up-gauge from retiring 149 seat aircraft, rather than as capacity neutral replacements for retiring aircraft. About 50 older 757-200’s were retired as the first few dozen 737-900ER’s were arriving, and many of these had seating capacities similar to the 180 seats in Delta’s 737-900ER’s; however, Delta still has 111 757-200’s (including 11 all First Class charter aircraft), many of which have been refurbished with 199 seat interiors (more up-gauging).

        • Regarding my statement in my post above that: ” Delta’s management has been consistently stating that the primary use of the A220 will be to up gauge routes currently flown by 76 seat regional jets.”

          Her are some examples.

          From the 8-21-18 FlightGLobal article at the link after the quote.

          “Where we’re purposely putting [the A220s] is to improve our product on our longest haul [Embraer] 175 or [Bombardier] CRJ900s, into thinner business markets,” says Joe Esposito, senior vice-president of network planning at the Atlanta-based carrier, at the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Denver today.

          For example, the 110-seat A220-100 could replace 76-seat Embraer 175s on flights between New York and both Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston Intercontinental where Delta competes directly with mainline aircraft at American Airlines and United Airlines, he says.”

          From the 5-8-17 Cranky Flier interview with Delta CEO Ed Bastian at the link after the quote.

          “Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines: First of all, we are out of space at LAX. We have grown substantially over the last 5 years here, but we are at the point where there’s no longer any room for growth. We turn our gates 10 times a day here which is by far the most of anywhere in our system, and it’s unsustainable.”

          “The C-Series we’re launching next year, the North American launch customer, we’re very excited about that. It would be a perfect airplane for LA in terms of getting rid of the regionals and going with a higher gauge. In order to do that, you have greater volumes that you’re bringing through, the infrastructure and the systems and the ability of the new terminal to manage that better.”

    • I assume Airbus is busy doing cost reduction studies and resource alot of components to the present A320neo suppliers. Most likely do they want to roll in this “optimized for production” A220-300 to be ready when Mobile A220 FAL opens, but most likely it will take some more time. SB’s roll out all the time but this block change will probably make a big difference in production time, volumes and profits. If Bombardier sells the Canadair RJ series the whole present FAL can be part of the sale once Mobile is up to speed.

  3. This has a couplle of good items in it (Boeing) – the Truss Braced wing (and it folds?) as well as the video of the making of a 787-9.

    You really need to go to options and slow it down to .25 and even that moves fast but its cool and shows a lot of tooling activity that I had not seen before.

    I do laugh at the heavy use of man lifts, maybe the best way but you have to move them a lot and hitting things with those is a way of life.

    Painting is obviously laborious and both person lift and person intensive and in this day and age you would think you could automate that.

    • One thing I don’t quite get about the truss braced wing is, where exactly is the wingbox? I suspect that, as the loads are spread out a lot more (4 points of load on the airframe, not 2), they (i.e. the “wingboxes”) would be a whole lot smaller. Nevertheless, so far as I can see there’d be a fairly heft piece of high strength structure quite high up on the airframe where the main wing attachment goes.

      Thing is, I’d have thought that that would rob the aircraft of cabin space, if you have to have large amounts of structure up there to take the loads and distribute them to the fuselage. The nice thing about the current conventional design is that the cabin sits on top of all the heavy duty structural stuff.

      I’m sure that that’s been thought of quite thoroughly in the original SUGAR project, and in the work behind this recent revision. All I’ve done is looked at the pictures and gone, hmmm I wonder how that works!

      • One thing I am more than willing to admit is I only know the large picture stuff on structures, let alone aircraft structures.

        In this case I assume they have viable layout or it would not be pursued.

        Flip it around and with engine getting larger diameter all the time (and usually heavier) the gear to get the bird up high enough gets longer and at some point …….,,.

        I would be interesting in how much of the wing folds, ideal would be to keep it in current single aisle gate size.

        That is 26 feet of wing fold to match in a much narrower wing than the 777 or course (20 feet folds each end?)

        The Truss itself if more techy and maybe there are things you can do with it that leaves the ends of the wing without control surfaces on it for folding?

        Its the kind of out of the box thinking we need to get a major structural jump in efficiency not just engines with a bit of structural improvement.

        No winglets and will be interesting to see what the new build aircraft do in that regard.

        Someone wrote that winglets are just show you did not do a good job on the wing design.

        Boeing has held with the crank wing tip on the last three new wings

        • winglets (such as we see on the 737/a320) should really only ever be used when you have dimensional constraints. until recently folding wings were deemed too complex for commercial aviation and the weight penalty vs winglets would only pay off on long routes.

          looks like things are changing though.

      • the upper wingbox does not need to intrude below the normal human head level (remember, this wing is _thin_ so if you put the bathrooms/galley where the wingbox is, you don’t even lose any overhead bin space and you gain a “natural” divider between cattle class and premium economy

    • They continue to use 777-200’s on that route. Its no big deal. Once widebodys ruled on US transcontinental flights, thats why United had a fleet of DC-10-10s

      • Duke: I think it is a really interesting deal.

        Big fuel using bird for a short run. Obvious advantage in pax numbers and seating arrangements that suit business class.

        Supposedly its not the norm but they are doing it.

        Is it possible there is more than one way to bake a muffin?

        • Its not a short run US Coast to Coast.

          Emirates bought the 787-10 as they said it was a ‘good 6hr plane’. Max range is for passengers and no cargo which isnt realistic.
          NY to LAX ? Its a 6 hr and then a bit flight.

          • Duke:

            The point is those runs are being done by Single Aisle now.

            List in range are for full passengers and cargo for standard versions.

            787-10 is 6400 NM. Yes you can take off 400 for reserves. That still twice as far as coast to coast.

            The A350-900 is 8100 nm, the extended is 9700 (and they put in more fuel and drop pax to get it)

          • Just checked, even for the 789 , of the 203 in the air around 20% are flying 6 hours and under.
            Even Air Canada uses them on flights from NY- Newark to Vancouver or Toronto to SFO.
            And its about 22% of the 788s in the air.

            Sure they are more likely to be doing 6-12 hr flights but utilisation is about having a mix

          • Heres a payload range diagram which includes both 787-10 and 350-900

            The trick is the 787-10 payload starts dropping at about 4000nm , if you go to 6400 nm the cargo hold is half empty with only baggage.
            Those diagrams too are ‘best’ numbers and actual weight of seats , galleys etc may take some more payload.

    • Hello TransWorld and Dukeofrl,

      See the link below for a trip report on United’s inaugural 787-10 flight from LAX to Newark. For the “airlines don’t care about comfort crowd”, note that United seems to have spent $$$ on premium and premium economy upgrades on their 787-10’s. Polaris has gone from 2-2-2 to 1-2-1, and seat width/pitch in 2-3-2 Premium Plus is 19 inches/38 inches. It seems to me that the US big three are perfectly willing to provide more comfortable seats to those passengers who are willing to pay for them, but aren’t going to stupidly throw away money by increasing seat widths and pitches for those passengers who will buy the cheapest ticket, no matter what the seat pitch or width is. If you want a Lexus instead of Toyota, then you need to pay more for the extra goodies that the Lexus has. If you are only willing and able to pay for a Toyota, then please don’t whine about not having heated leather seats, a sunroof, and a top of the line stereo.

      I agree with TransWorld that it is of some interest that United will be scheduling 787-10’s on transcontinental flights. Wide-bodies used to dominate on US transcontinental routes from about the mid 1970’s to around 9-11, then after 9-11 wide bodies became very rare on these routes. In just the last few years, I have noticed wide body use again increasing on these routes. If United is permanently scheduling their fanciest new aircraft with their fanciest new seats on transcontinental routes, instead of just doing so for a “shakedown” period, then I think that is something of interest.

  4. It is not close at all. Add Embraer to Boeing number and look at how many widebody ship by each. A320 is not the same as A350.

    • Daveo: Is this breaking news that A320 and A350 are not the same?

      How many Embraers ship each year?

      How large will the AC220 shipments be?

      A350 is still ramping up, I suspect its going to be close

    • I looked it up. 85 to 95 Embraer this year.

      So, Airbus has a few more A320 vs 737, A220 gets 40 next year?

      I think its close enough to be equal.

        • Agreed for around 73 if Mobile can start “completion” of Mirabel made green A220s as early as this coming summer.

          As we all know, completion is the bottle neck in Mirabel.

  5. Why does Boeing include military planes in their 806 deliveries? Do they always do it?

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