Boeing Tops Airbus in Plane Deliveries for First Time Since 2018
Boeing Co. delivered more jets in a single quarter than its arch-rival Airbus SE for the first time since mid-2018, a sign that the US manufacturer’s production is getting back on track following years of disruptions.
Boeing shipped 64 jets in March — nearly half its quarterly total — including 53 planes from its 737 family. It also recorded 60 new orders against 22 cancellations for the month.
That topped the 61 aircraft delivered in March by Airbus, the world’s biggest planemaker, whose factories are set to produce more jets each month.
Boeing shares rose 0.9% at 11:13 a.m. in New York trading, while Airbus stock was little changed in Paris.
According to Bloomberg Intelligence, Boeing last out-delivered Airbus nearly five years ago as the European manufacturer faced engine shortages for its money-generating A320neo family. This time around, a dip in handovers to China’s airlines likely clipped Airbus’s results, said George Ferguson, an analyst with BI.
Both planemakers have struggled to keep pace with surging demand for fuel-efficient new jetliners in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Boeing and Airbus are grappling with disrupted shipments from their constellation of suppliers and their own shortfalls as they work to speed output.
Boeing delivered a 767-300 freighter to FedEx Corp and 11 of its 787 Dreamliners during the quarter after pausing handovers to deal with manufacturing lapses. The planemaker also shipped 113 jets from its 737 family, most of them Max models.
Now that its 737 factory south of Seattle has settled into a 31-jet-a-month rhythm, Boeing is laying plans to hike output there by 23% by midyear, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.
Company executives are likely to provide more guidance on the so-called rate break when Boeing reports earnings later this month, Credit Suisse analyst Scott Deuschle said in a report Monday. He raised Boeing’s target price by $20 to $220 on improving production and deliveries — and also cited the probability that the company unveils a significant number of new jet orders during the Paris Air Show in June.
Airbus still landed more jet sales during the first quarter, tallying 142 after cancellations. Boeing had 120 gross orders and netted 107 sales, including cancellations and an accounting provision for at-risk deals.
Last week, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said the planemaker planned to ramp up production at its China assembly line from 4 planes a month to 6 later this year. The company has been adapting the factory in Tianjin so it can build the larger A321 model.
Boeing, meanwhile, is adding a fourth 737 Max production line at its factory in Everett, Washington — the first time the narrowbody has been built outside its traditional base in Renton, Washington.