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Boeing Deliveries Rise in 2021 but Lag Behind Airbus

The US aviation giant delivered 340 planes last year, up from 157 in 2020, but below Bordeaux-based Airbus’s 611 deliveries in 2021

Beyond the full-service airlines, low-cost carriers are also expanding their routes. Photo: Reuters.


Boeing delivered more than twice as many commercial planes in 2021 as the year earlier but lagged behind arch-rival Airbus despite China re-certifying its troubled 737 MAX jet.

The US aviation giant, benefitting from the return of its 737 MAX jet in most leading markets, delivered 340 planes last year, up from 157 in 2020. But that level is still below Airbus’s 611 deliveries in 2021.

Deliveries are tied to company revenues and closely monitored by investors.

The figures are the latest to point to Boeing’s partial recovery from the lengthy grounding of its 737 MAX model following two fatal crashes.

It also suggests the downturn in the commercial plane business during the Covid-19 pandemic, which halted many new plane orders for more than a year, might be easing.

Boeing executives have said they expect passenger traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 or 2024, and for the company to recover its long-term growth trends a few years after that.

In early December 2021, Beijing cleared the MAX to resume service, the last major market to re-authorise the single-aisle plane after its grounding.


Boeing Quality Issues

But Boeing over the last year ran into trouble with its 787 Dreamliner, halting deliveries of the jet in May following quality issues and cutting production levels. Boeing delivered just 14 Dreamliner planes in 2021, down from 53 the prior year.

Boeing has spent $1 billion in added production costs due to the 787’s problems.

The company is engaged in “detailed discussions” with federal aviation regulators about resuming deliveries, Boeing said in a quarterly securities filing.

On the positive side, Boeing had net orders of 535 commercial planes for 2021, meaning its contracts for new planes more than offset cancellations for the first time in three years.

The aviation giant also scored a record number of new freighter orders, reflecting additions by UPS, FedEx and others in response to rising e-commerce demand.


  • AFP, with additional editing by George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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