In the battle for aircraft-delivery supremacy between dueling giants the Boeing Co. and Europe’s Airbus SE, the latter gained a historic edge last year, notching more than twice as many commercial aircraft shipments to customers than rival Boeing ― the biggest gap in the 45-year battle between the two plane-makers.
Boeing in a statement announced that it delivered a total of 380 commercial aircraft last year, compared with Airbus’ tally of 863 and its own 2018 delivery mark of 806. The reversal of fortune for Boeing was attributed to the grounding of its 737 Max aircraft, according to a Bloomberg story. Airbus last bested Boeing in commercial aircraft deliveries in 2011 and has only done so 10 times since 1974, when it launched its A300 jetliner, Bloomberg reports.
In a sliver lining for Boeing, it recorded strong deliveries for its 87 Dreamliner aircraft in December, resulting in 79 being shipped overall in the fourth quarter of last year and 158 for the full year ― up by 13 from the prior year. Boeing fell far behind Airbus in deliveries of its narrow-body 737 aircraft, however, with only 127 shipped in 2019, compared with Airbus’ narrow-body jet delivery mark of 690, Bloomberg reports.
The company continued to assemble about 40 of the 737 Max aircraft a month at the plant since the passenger jet was grounded this past March following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in less than half a year that together claimed the lives of 346 people.
The Boeing Co finally suspended production of new 737 Max aircraft starting this month and will prioritize the delivery of the 400 aircraft it now has in storage, the company announced recently. Boeing’s factory in Renton where the planes are produced employs 12,000 workers across three shifts.
The company says employees affected by the production shutdown will continue to 737 Max-related work or be temporarily assigned to other teams in the Puget Sound area. The duration of the production shutdown is not known at this time. Regulatory approvals for the 737 Max to return to service are not expected until sometime in February, at the earliest and likely not until mid-year.
* 737 ― 127 vs. 580
* 747 ― 7 vs. 6
* 767 ― 43 vs. 27
* 777 ― 45 vs. 48
* 787― 158 vs. 145
* Total: 380 vs. 806