Boeing Loses Jet-Delivery Crown to Airbus in Record Defeat

By Julie Johnsson, Bloomberg

Boeing Co. lost its title as the world’s largest planemaker to Airbus SE, suffering the biggest defeat in the companies’ 45-year duel because of the grounding of the 737 Max.

The U.S. aerospace giant delivered just 380 jetliners last year, according to a company statement Tuesday. That was less than half of Airbus’s tally of 863 planes.

Delivery Drop
The Max crisis slammed Boeing deliveries while Airbus surged ahead.

Boeing’s epic trouncing underscored the depth of the Max crisis, after global regulators halted commercial flights and deliveries of the model in March after two crashes killed 346 people. Airbus’s victory was its first since 2011 and 10th since 1974, when the company’s A300 jetliner made its commercial debut.

Last year, Boeing shipped only 127 of its single-aisle 737 planes, lagging behind Airbus’s narrow-body total of 690 jets. But the Chicago-based company scored a win in twin-aisle jets, shipping 253 — 80 more than Airbus.

Boeing reversed losses after the release of the data, which showed a strong December for deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner. The shares climbed less than 1% to $331.46 at 10:58 a.m. in New York.

The company handed over 21 Dreamliners during the final month of the year, bringing its 2019 total to 158 — 13 more than in 2018. The carbon-composite jets have become a critical source of cash while the Max is grounded.

Orders for the Max, Boeing’s best-selling jet, have also suffered amid uncertainty over when regulators will finally clear the plane to resume flights. Boeing recorded a total of 54 jetliner sales, net of cancellations and conversions, compared with 768 for Toulouse, France-based Airbus.