Airbus Retains Crown, Beats Goal With 610 Deliveries in 2021
(Bloomberg) -- Airbus SE surpassed its 2021 delivery goal of 600 jets, according to people familiar with the matter, retaining the title of world’s largest planemaker for a third year running.
The European manufacturer delivered about 610 aircraft, said the people, who asked not to be identified before annual figures were announced. The final tally could vary by a few planes, the people said.
An Airbus spokesman declined to comment before publication of audited totals next week.
The annual scramble to meet its year-end goal had higher stakes than ever this year, as Airbus sought to shake off the Covid-19 crisis and rally its supply chain for higher production rates in the coming years.
The results also underscore the degree to which Airbus extended its lead over Boeing Co. during the pandemic. Through November, the U.S. manufacturer had delivered just 302 planes as it grappled with production issues on the 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus also looks likely to beat its U.S. rival on orders, with a year-end sales bonanza sweeping away a lead built by Boeing earlier in the period with the comeback of its 737 Max after a nearly two-year grounding.
Suppliers, A350 Issues
The Airbus push to hand over aircraft had been hindered by delays with some completed twin-aisle A350s, but the company managed to surmount these problems to get jets out of the door in the final days of the year.
Suppliers have also struggled to lift parts production, and some airlines have been reluctant to take aircraft. But Airbus has so much demand for its single-aisle A320-family that it was able to pressure customers into maintaining their commitments or risk losing out on available delivery slots.
Boeing last won the delivery battle in 2018. The Max was grounded worldwide early the following year after two crashes that killed 346 people.
Sales and deliveries of the Chicago-based planemaker’s best-selling jet were frozen for the better part of two years, with customers canceling hundreds of orders as Covid weakened their finances.
Output of the 737 Max gained pace throughout 2021, but a separate continued quality problems with its 787 Dreamliner has continued to hamper deliveries.
While a sales comeback driven by pent-up demand for the 737 Max lifted Boeing to an order lead for most of 2021, Airbus managed to erase that advantage too.
Based on a Bloomberg calculation of announced sales, Airbus edged its U.S. rival by some 58 orders in 2021.
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