Airbus is on track to overtake Boeing as the world’s biggest planemaker as the US company reported a slump in deliveries of new commercial jet airliner deliveries after two fatal crashes involving the 737 Max.
Boeing, which has led its European rival since 2012, is struggling after safety regulators worldwide grounded its best-selling 737 Max following the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air disasters that killed 346 people.
Boeing reported 239 commercial plane deliveries in the first half of the year, a 37% fall from 378 in the same period last year, highlighting the extent to which the crashes have damaged its reputation in the market.
Rival Airbus has reported 389 deliveries in the first half, up 28% on the same period last year, and is on track to deliver a record number of planes this year, overtaking Boeing for the first time in seven years.
Before the crash, Boeing was delivering planes at a rate of 50 a month in the first quarter. Output has since slumped to only 30 a month in the second quarter. Boeing halted deliveries of the top-selling plane since it was grounded in mid-March.
There are more than 150 undelivered Max planes parked at sites around the US as well as 380 owned by airlines that remain grounded. June was the third month running that Boeing booked no new orders of its Max aircraft. Air regulators are not expected to clear the model to fly again before the end of September as the company continues to work on fixing the aircraft’s flight-control systems.
Airbus has been ramping up the pressure on Boeing by pushing its best-selling A320neo, a direct rival to the Max, and publicly announcing an increase in production.
This week Boeing lost a provisional deal for 50 737 Max planes from flyadeal, the budget arm of Saudi Arabian Airlines, which instead ordered the Airbus rival. The deal, with a value of more than $5.5bn (£4.4bn), is one of the first direct signs that the Max crashes have resulted in business shifting to Boeing’s rival.
However, last month at the Paris air show Boeing was given a shot in the arm when International Airlines Group, the parent of British Airways, signed a “letter of intent” to buy 200 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the first new sales deal for the passenger jet since it was grounded. The IAG order is yet to be officially booked by Boeing.
Source: The Guardian