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Airbus poised to overtake Boeing as biggest plane maker

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Airbus poised to overtake Boeing as biggest plane maker

Boeing's deliveries are expected to drop as a result of its problems with the 737 MAX. Meanwhile, Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, has promised to build 880 to 890 airliners this year.

Boeing commercial-jetliner deliveries fell by more than a third in the first half of 2019 from a year earlier as 737 MAX aircraft continue to pile up at its facilities, with Airbus set to overtake its U.S. rival as the world’s largest planemaker for the first time in seven years.

For the third straight month, Chicago-based Boeing on Tuesday reported no new orders of the MAX aircraft, which have been grounded since mid-March following two fatal crashes.

Overall, the company shipped 239 planes over the first six months compared with 378 in the same period last year, with more than 150 of the grounded MAX jets parked in storage.

It suspended MAX deliveries in March following the crash in October of one of its jets operated by Lion Air, in Indonesia, and a second crash, in March in Ethiopia. Similarities between the two MAX crashes sparked global safety concerns. Boeing’s plans to fix the plane have encountered delays, and the company now hopes to submit the fix to regulators in September to get the fleet back into airline service.

Airbus remains on track to deliver a record number of jets this year after shaking off an array of production problems, with plans to boost output of its best-selling A320 range this year. Airbus said Tuesday after European markets closed that it had shipped 389 planes in the first six months compared with 303 in the year-prior period.

Boeing now builds its 737 jets at a rate of 42 a month after cutting output by almost a fifth in April and shelving its own plan to boost production. The undelivered planes are draining Boeing’s closely watched cash flow, which analysts expect to turn sharply negative this year, adding to the pressure to deliver its 787 Dreamliner jets, aircraft services and defence equipment. It handed over 18 Dreamliners in June.

Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, has promised to build 880 to 890 airliners this year. Deliveries at Airbus are typically weighted to the second half.


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