Airbus returns to the top civil aircraft manufacturer in the world

 Airbus returns to the top civil aircraft manufacturer in the world

According to Reuters, Airbus finally achieved its 2019 delivery target by delivering a record number of aircraft in December, with a total delivery of 863 aircraft, up 7.9% from 800 in 2018.

At the same time, the laureate of the worlds largest aviation manufacturer has changed hands for the first time in eight years as Boeing is mired in the mud of 737max.

On December 31, the first ACF a321neo of CAAC arrived in Chongqing and joined Chongqing Airlines. Photo source: Airbus social account

Although Airbus has become the worlds largest manufacturer of civil mechanism again, its delivery journey in 2019 is also full of ups and downs.

Airbus set a target to deliver 880-890 civil aircraft in early 2019.

However, due to the drag of the supply chain, Airbus delivered only 389 aircraft in the first half of the year, raising doubts about whether it could meet the delivery standards.

In the third quarter of 2019, Airbus delivered 571 civil aircraft, but it is still far from the annual plan. Airbus then announced that it would cut its annual delivery forecast to 860.

A350 deliveries have soared in the past two years. Source: Airbus

But the delivery pressure of 860 is not small.

In fact, it was not until the end of November that Airbus delivered 725 civil aircrafts, an average of 66 per month, until the last hours of new years Eve, when it finally completed its annual mission.

This also means that in December 2019, Airbus delivered a total of 138 aircraft, almost double the normal monthly delivery, a new record.

At present, Airbus temporarily declined to comment on the number of 863. As the figures need to be reviewed, the exact situation may not be confirmed until Airbus releases its fourth quarter results.

Comparison of Airbus Boeing deliveries in the past 10 years source: 1buv

As aircraft sales are generally divided into two payments at the time of ordering and delivery, aircraft delivery has always been an important indicator for the outside world to predict the financial situation of aircraft manufacturers.

Boeing has also stressed the importance of the delivery volume index in media meetings for many times. Previously, although the total reserve order volume of Boeing was slightly lower than that of Airbus, it has been leading Airbus in the delivery volume since 2012.

Even in early 2019, Boeing expects to deliver around 900 units a year, slightly higher than Airbuss target. However, Boeings delivery was blocked after the 737max grounded, giving Airbus the opportunity to counter overtaking ahead of time in 2019.

After the Boeing 737max is temporarily shut down, Boeing will also focus on the priority of completing the delivery of more than 400 737max already produced in the factory.

737 production line image source: Boeing

For Airbus, it is only the beginning to return to the first manufacturing position, and Airbus still needs to solve the problem of production rate.

Since 2010, the aviation industry has experienced an explosion of growth after the financial crisis. The order growth rate is higher than the production and delivery speed all the year round. In extreme years like 2013 and 2014, the new orders of Airbus are only 1500.

In recent years, Airbus has been increasing the production speed of its full range of aircraft.

Take A320 series as an example. In 2017, its monthly production was 50, slightly lower than 737 series. In the second half of 2019, the number climbed to 60. Before that, Airbus also predicted that the number would be further increased to 63 by 2021.

However, if we want to attract more new customers and dispel their doubts about the delivery time of the aircraft, Airbus may need to make more efforts to achieve further improvement of the delivery volume.

Airbus A320 production line image source: Airbus

In fact, for manufacturers, the delivery figures are only a part of the index to judge their operation. No matter who is the first, more is still the change in the name, the product is the most noteworthy.

In the past two years, Airbus has made a deep memory by virtue of various magic changes of a321neo, a220 and A350XWB in the market.

After Boeing is impacted by 737max, I think they need to study whether there should be a new product to fight against Airbus in the narrow body or medium-sized market, even if 737max will resume production in the future.

Otherwise, it may not be like the past two exchanges, but Airbus is the worlds first civil aircraft manufacturer.