Boeing lags on orders, but set for record deliveries

At the half-way mark for the year, Airbus continues to outstrip its American rival in terms of orders, while Boeing streaks ahead in aircraft deliveries.

Results published yesterday (July 6) confirmed that Boeing had delivered 381 aircraft in the first six months of the year – putting it firmly on track to beat last year’s record of 723 commercial aircraft deliveries.

Airbus, meanwhile, delivered 304 aircraft up to June 30 revealing that the delivery gap between the two OEMs has widened. It now stands at 77 aircraft while at the end of April it was just 54.

More good news for Boeing was that it delivered six 787-9 aircraft in June, topping deliveries of the cheaper -8 version for the first time.

Taking a look at the orderbooks following this year’s slow Paris Air Show, however, and it’s not such a positive story for Boeing. The airframer won a net total of 281 orders during the first six months of the year, 67 fewer than Airbus which secured 348 and boasts a record backlog of 6,430 aircraft.

While order gap has narrowed slightly from April, when Boeing was 81 aircraft behind Airbus, the halt of the US Export-Import Bank's lending activities last week, could severely impact the Seattle-based OEM moving forward.

The Ex-Im Bank, which provides finance for sales of US exports to international buyers, has ceased offering new loans following the lapse of its charter on July 1.

Speaking to reporters after a ceremony marking delivery of the first 787 to Vietnam Airlines yesterday (July 6), Ray Conner, CEO of Boeing’s commercial aircraft arm said that the loss of finance from the bank would put the firm at a “huge competitive disadvantage”.

“We absolutely need Ex-Im Bank to compete on a level playing field,” he warned.

Boeing is not alone in calling for the reauthorisation of the bank, General Electric, whose customers also receives significant finance from the bank, has been very vocal in its support of the institution.

However, the Ex-Im has become a political hot potato, with some Republicans arguing that the bank should remain closed, labelling it a “corrupt corporate welfare agency”.

The Democrat administration does hope to revive the bank in the coming months, but the fact that it has been forced to close its doors does not send out a reassuring message to those firms which Boeing will need to attract if it is to make up ground in its order battle with Airbus this year.

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