Airbus rallies late to take sales crown from Boeing (BA)

airbus A350 1000_First_Flight_speech 012Airbus A350-1000 test flight.Airbus

Airbus’ and Boeing’s fight for supremacy of the skies continue into 2016.

The two titans of the aviation industry have been going head-to-head with one another every year for the past two decades.

Both airplane makers posted solid numbers during the year, but Airbus rallied late to take the sales crown from Boeing with 731 net orders to Boeing’s 668.

The Toulouse, France-based company booked an incredible 321 net orders in the month of December to take the lead.

“We delivered on our objectives in a challenging environment, proving our ramp-up readiness for the future,” Airbus Commercial Aircraft president Fabrice Brégier. “I salute all our teams on this outstanding achievement.”

As a result, Airbus boasts a backlog of 6,874 aircraft valued at more than $1 trillion.

However, all was not lost for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The Seattle-based airplane maker delivered 748 planes to its customers during 2016 — 60 more than Airbus.

In addition, Boeing still boasts a healthy backlog of 5,715 planes.

Boeing 787 9Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.Boeing

As expected the bulk of Airbus and Boeing’s orders were for their respective workhorse A320-family and 737-Series narrow body jets. Twin-engine wide-body jets such as the Airbus A330, A350 along with the Boeing 777 and 787 remain popular. However, both manufacturers continue to struggle finding new buyers for its large jumbo jets. Even with low fuel prices, Airbus ended 2016 with zero net orders for the A380 superjumbo.

On the other hand, Boeing’s venerable 747 jumbo jet had a banner year with 17 net orders — the most in a decade for the program. Sadly, the 747’s new orders are driven by demand for the plane’s ability to carry cargo rather than passengers. Unfortunately, even with the 747’s stellar year, its order backlog is down to just 28 planes.

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