Boeing Tops Airbus in Q1 Deliveries as Air Travel Rebounds
Boeing (BA) delivered 130 airplanes in the first quarter of 2023, slightly ahead of its European rival Airbus (AIR), which delivered 127 jets, according to data released by both companies on Tuesday. This is the first time since 2018 that Boeing has outperformed Airbus in quarterly deliveries, signaling a recovery for the U.S. planemaker after years of setbacks.
Boeing's deliveries were up 27% from a year ago, when it delivered 95 jets. The majority of its deliveries were from the 737 MAX family, with 113 out of the 130 jets belonging to this category. The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. The plane was cleared to fly again by regulators and Boeing has been working to clear its backlog of orders and win back customer confidence.
Boeing also delivered 11 787 Dreamliners, four 777s, one 767 freighter, and one 747 in the first quarter. The 787 deliveries were affected by a temporary halt ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in February due to quality issues with the fuel tanks. Boeing resumed deliveries in mid-March after receiving FAA approval.
Airbus saw its deliveries drop by 9% from a year ago, when it delivered 140 jets. Airbus faced an engine shortage for its A320neo family of narrow-body jets, which accounted for 104 out of the 127 deliveries in the first quarter. Airbus plans to increase production at its assembly plant in Tianjin, China, from four to six planes a month. The plant has been modified to produce the A321 model, which competes with the 737 MAX.
Airbus still leads Boeing in terms of orders, with 142 net orders in the first quarter compared to Boeing's 38. Airbus also has a larger backlog of orders, with 6,998 jets as of March 31, compared to Boeing's 4,555.
The competition between Boeing and Airbus is expected to intensify as air travel recovers from the pandemic and airlines renew their fleets with more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly planes. Both companies have announced plans to increase their production rates in the coming months.