2003 Should See More Jets Delivered by Toulouse
For a couple years now, Airbus has been beating
Boeing at the game of booking airliner orders, but Boeing has
wisely concentrated on reality -- delivering airplanes.
It's not that orders, per se, are a bad indicator of
future deliveries; it's just that some firms are more -- how does
one say this nicely -- optimistic in what they call
Race was over in December
In December, Boeing lost a heart-breaker to Airbus: a
long-negotiated 120-plane order, by EasyJet, went for A319s
and A320s. That put the "orders" category clearly in Airbus's 'win'
For the first time, though, Airbus is planning on actually
delivering more airplanes than Boeing.
In 2002, Boeing still held a commanding lead in that race: the
Chicago giant shipped out 381 big 'uns, vs. Airbus's 303. Airbus,
though, has just called attention to its 300-jet order book for the
year, vs Boeing's announced 251. [Net orders were 233 vs 176
also expects to deliver about 300 of its backlog of 1500+ this
year; Boeing is saying it expects to deliver at least a dozen fewer
Depending on the climate for the new-airliner market, it is
quite possible that some of the announced orders may drop off the
books of both manufacturers.
Both plane-makers are looking to enhance their overall status
with military orders. Airbus, having announced all kinds of orders
for its ephemeral A400M transport, has seen a lot of infighting and
attrition, as it attempts to firm up what may turn out to be an
unprofitable program; Boeing is trying to close as many orders from
the supposedly burgeoning heavy-lift market, as it can. With
proven, existing airplanes that bracket the A400M in all
parameters, expect fierce fighting, and a lot of nationalism, in
this arena, as the year unfolds.