Beat Boeing In Orders For 2005
In a webcasted press
conference Tuesday, Airbus executives announced that 2005 was a
better year than many had thought for the European consortium... in
all areas. In fact, Airbus claims it has beaten Boeing's number of
orders for 2005, in addition to deliveries.
Helped by a strong December showing, Airbus reported it booked
1,111 gross orders in 2005 -- valued at $95.9 billion in US
dollars -- and 1,055 net orders. (So many orders, it evidently took
seventeen days to count them all.) Those numbers trump Boeing's
previously announced figures for 2005 of 1,029 gross and 1002 net
orders... numbers that seemed insurmountable to most industry
insiders as recently as, well, yesterday.
"We were very busy in the month of December," said Airbus
President and CEO Gustav Humbert.
It also means that Airbus continues to lead Boeing in overall
order count for the fifth straight year, and in deliveries for the
third year in a row. Airbus previously hinted its number of
deliveries for 2005 would exceed Boeing's total last week, and at the time executives with the
company also hinted the orders race would be closer than
Masters of understatement, they. Here's how the numbers break
- Airbus delivered 378 aircraft in 2005, and total
deliveries now stand at 4,130. The 2005 deliveries comprise 289
Single Aisle Family aircraft and 89 wide-body long range airliners
(essentially A330s and A340s). These numbers are up from 305 in
2003, and well above the former record of 325 in 2001 -- reflecting
"the steady increase in production rates to cope with the
increasing demand," according to Airbus.
- Airbus's 2005 orders make up 52 per cent of the market,
comprising 918 Single Aisles (a record for the A320 family, and a
sign of increased pressure for Boeing's aging 737), 166 A330s,
A340s and A350s, and 20 A380s, as well as seven A300 Freighters.
2005 was therefore even stronger than 1998, Airbus’ previous
record year in which it booked 556 new orders. Also, the order
intake for both the Single Aisle Family and the A330/A340/A350 were
the highest ever for those product series.
- At the end of 2005, Airbus had a backlog of 2,177 aircraft
valued at USD $220.3 billion -- numbers Airbus claims are "the
highest ever in its entire history, and in the history of
aviation." It's also a higher number than Boeing for the sixth year
in a row, and comprises the highest ever backlog for both the
A330/A340/A350 (346 aircraft) and the A320 Family (1,652
"2005 was a record year for the whole industry and for Airbus in
particular", said Airbus's Gustav Humbert, when announcing the
results. "Airlines have never ever placed so many orders, a sign
that they are very optimistic about the future of air
transportation, with also a lot of new carriers emerging and
bringing cheap air travel to an increasing number of consumers. But
it also reflects the need for more modern equipment to face the
rising fuel prices. We are pleased to have maintained our lead in
terms of market share."
"But, more importantly, we continue to increase our production
output, based on a backlog never seen in history, which secures
work for the next four to five years at very high production
rates," added Humbert.
If there's one area Airbus stumbled -- and where Boeing can take
heart -- it's that Airbus failed to meet its goal of 200 orders for
the A350 in 2005. To date, 172 orders have been placed for the new
narrowbody airliner, compared to 291 firm orders for its 787
Also, Boeing held onto its lead in widebody orders, with 212
orders for the 747, 767 and 777 families, versus 166 for the Airbus
widebodies (A330, A340, A380.)
While the news is likely a supreme disappointment to Boeing
execs -- who had all but crowned their company the
winners in the 2005 orders race -- all in all it was a great year
for both manufacturers. Perhaps as a sign of things to come,
though, Humbert refused to predict how the order race will shake
out for either company. That may mean Airbus expects the market to
cool considerably in 2006.