Airbus ended the year 2019 on a high, with the European commercial airplane manufacturer delivering 863 airplanes for the year in comparison to its larger rival Boeing, which could only manage 345 deliveries.
While Airbus has done extremely well over recent years to ramp up production for its popular A320 family of jets, Boeing’s fortunes took a significant hit with the grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft earlier this year. Trefis compares key operating metrics for Boeing vs. Airbus over the years – highlighting how Airbus looked poised to overtake Boeing as the largest commercial aircraft manufacturer even before the latter ran into trouble.
Boeing, established in 1916, was the only airplane supplier till 1974 until Airbus (established in 1970) launched its first commercial airplane. Both companies today have a combined share of 91% in the commercial aircraft market globally. Notably, Airbus has been able to take market share away from Boeing over the last 5 years, and had an order book 56% larger than Boeing’s at the end of September 2019. We take a deep dive into the operating performance of both companies over last few years in our interactive dashboard, parts of which are highlighted below.
Understanding Delivery Numbers For Boeing and Airbus & Their Market Share Since 2014:
- Growth in airplane deliveries has been higher for Airbus than for Boeing on account of Airbus A320 family
- Boeing further had bleak deliveries in 2019 on account of the grounding of its 737 MAX series – an issue that is expected to be resolved only in Q4 2020.
- Boeing delivered a total of 345 commercial aircraft in 2019 – down from 806 in 2018. On the other hand, Airbus’ aircraft deliveries has swelled from 629 in 2014 to 863 in 2019.
- Airbus has improved its market share from 41.1% in 2014 to 45.3% in 2018.
- We estimate Airbus’ market share to have spiked to almost 62.5% in 2019 due to the sizable reduction in deliveries for Boeing.
Order Backlog for Airbus and Boeing as on September 2019:
- The backlog for Airbus on September 2019 was 7,133 aircraft whereas for Boeing it was 5,488 aircraft.
- Boeing’s entire global fleet of 737 MAX aircraft was grounded in March 2019, following two fatal aircraft crashes.
- The company had an order book of 4,636 units worth $600 billion of the 737 MAX family at the time of the grounding, and faces the threat of order cancellation from several airlines.
Additionally, Boeing’s average revenue per aircraft has been declining over the years while Airbus’s average revenue has remained stable. Additional details about how Airbus’ revenue per aircraft has trended over the years compared to Boeing are available in our interactive dashboard.
Revenue & Profit Comparison For Boeing & Airbus:
- Boeing Revenues:
- Commercial Segment Revenues for Boeing declined by 10% in 2016 from $66 Bil in 2015 to $59.4 Bil in 2016 due to lower deliveries
- Revenue decline of 2.3% was observed in 2017 to $58 Bil.
- The revenue increased again in 2018 by 4.7% to 60.7 Bil.
- Airbus Revenues:
- Airbus’ Commercial Aircraft revenue grew 7.1% in 2016 from a revenue of $50.9 Bil in 2015 to $54.5 Bil in 2016.
- Revenue further grew by 5.6% in 2017 to $57.6 Bil.
- A 1.6% decline in revenue was observed in 2018 on account of change in revenue recognition towards engine procurement for the Aircraft
- Operating Margins:
- Although the margins earned by commercial section of Boeing are higher than Airbus, the margin improvement in Airbus is much higher than in Boeing, with CAGR in Operating Profits for Airbus coming in at 9.3% versus 4.9% for Boeing.