In the battle between Airbus Group and Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) for dominance in the commercial aircraft space, every skirmish matters. Airbus reported last week that it has taken net orders for a total of 203 new aircraft in the first five months of 2014. Boeing’s order book for the first five months of the year totals 394.
All of Airbus’s new orders were for the company’s single-aisle, narrow-body jets like the A320 and the A321. The company has also experienced a relatively large number of order cancellations. Total orders so far in 2013 come to 306, which means nearly one order in three is cancelled. Boeing’s total 2014 orders come to 448, with just 54 cancellations.
Airbus is trying to decide whether to put new engines on its A330 dual-aisle, wide-body jet. The company currently has orders for just 29 A330s. Last week the CEO of Air Lease Corp. (NYSE: AL) said that Airbus could sell 1,100 to 1,200 A330s over the next 20 years as an alternative to the Boeing 777 and 787. A re-engined A330neo would match up very well to a 787-9’s operating costs, according to an Airbus executive. The downside is that the plane’s range would be about 1,100 miles less than the 787’s.
Not only is Boeing taking more orders than Airbus, it is delivering more planes. Airbus has delivered 248 new planes to date in 2014, compared with 271 Boeing deliveries. Of these planes, Airbus counts 196 single-aisle planes while Boeing’s single-aisle deliveries total 193. The single-aisle planes are the least expensive in both companies’ arsenal. Boeing has delivered 40 777s and 33 Dreamliners so far this year. Of the largest planes, Airbus has delivered 10 of its A380s, compared with just five of Boeing’s 747s.