Just had to be 747 planes
In 2018 Airbus handed over 800 aeroplanes, six less than Boeing. (2017 – Airbus 718; Boeing 763). The US firm left its European competitor trailing in terms of orders and full-freighters. One Airbus figure will nevertheless have triggered something for Boeing.
The two leading aeroplane manufacturers, based on either side of the Atlantic Ocean, and their minor competitors worldwide, apparently need not fear a looming dearth of orders in the next few years. Boeing’s new orders declined from 912 to 893, how- ever. Nigeria’s Green Africa Airways’ pro- mise to buy new aircraft, namely exactly 100 Boeing B787MAX8s, was the largest order ever placed by an African airline. That was enough to overtake Airbus, whose order book shrank, namely from 1,109 to 747, of all figures – Boeing’s mythical number. 9 February, the day after this issue of the ITJ is published, marks the 50th anniversary of the B747s maiden flight!
Boeing building up market leadership
The rule of the ‘Queen of the Skies’ is slowly coming to an end in the meantime, however. Four-engined units in general are less and less in fashion with customers. In 2018 UPS took delivery of the only six brand new B747s, and ordered another 14. Besides the integrator there was one more B747 customer in 2018, but the corporation did not name the identity of the orderer of the freight Jumbos.
Things are developing differently with two-engined freighters, with Boeing taking 45 orders for B777Fs last year (eight in 2017), as well as delivering 16 units (nine in 2017). Over and above this, the B767-300F has undergone something of a renaissance, with 17 delivered (ten in 2017) and 20 ordered (none in 2017).
Airbus could not counter this business. There was not one single order for or delivery of its A330-200 freighter in 2018.
Aviation analyst FlightGlobal’s ‘flight fleets analyzer’ has ascertained rising demand for passenger units converted into freighters. 110 former passenger units added main-deck capacities to the market in 2018, compared to 99 in 2016 as well as 84 in 2016. 31 of these were long-haul aeroplanes (29 in 2017).
Boeing was the leader here too, with 27 B767-300ERs, whilst the A330 only featured four times. In the short-haul segment, which grew from 54 to 60 units, Boeing models also led the pack, with 35 B737s (of which 24 were B737-400s), 22 were B757-200s and three MD-80s. SF Express displayed the greatest demand for smaller jets (eight B757-200s).