With more than 10 months of 2012 now in the rearview mirror, Boeing has opened up a big lead in the order race with its European rival, Airbus.
Thanks to big orders for the refreshed version of the 737, the 737 Max, Boeing has now passed the 1,000 plane mark for 2012 net orders. That compares with 403 for Airbus. Boeing’s total through Nov. 6 is 1,009.
The 737 was the big driver for new orders with 990 for the year so far. The other planes in Boeing’s line have drawn comparatively few orders. The 777 has 17. The 767 garnered 19, the 747 has drawn 5 and the 787 has a negative 22 orders because of cancellations.
The biggest order of the year so far came from Indonesia’s Lion Air, which ordered 230 737s. United Airlines placed an order for 150 of those planes.
Boeing is also ahead in delivering new commercial planes with 486 deliveries to customers versus Airbus’s 462.
The surge in 737 orders came after Boeing last fall finally decided whether it would build a new single-aisle plane from scratch or simply upgrade the venerable 737. It opted for the upgrade. Airbus beat the American planemaker to the punch on the single-aisle decision by nine months, opting for an upgrades A320 family of planes called the A320neo.
That head start left Boeing in the dust last year as airlines scrambled to order the updated A320 while Boeing was still undecided.
planemaker Airbus won 460 aircraft orders in the first 10 months of the year, less than half the score by Boeing as its U.S. arch rival continued to benefit from a surge in demand for its new fuel-efficient 737 MAX model.
Airbus said net orders in the period from January to October reached 403 after taking into account 57 cancellations, compared with 1,009 for Boeing in the period to Nov. 6. The U.S. company has received 990 net orders for 737 narrow-body jets this year.
Boeing also outpaced Airbus in terms of deliveries in the period through October, handing over 486 aircraft to customers, including 342 737s, against 462 for Airbus.
The latest data show Boeing is still on course to reclaim the top spot in commercial aircraft production from Airbus this year. The U.S. group lagged Airbus on deliveries for the ninth year in a row last year.
Boeing’s market share sank to its worst level in the history of its 40-year rivalry with Airbus in 2011 as it took longer to decide on a strategy to meet demand for more fuel-efficient single-aisle jets in response to Airbus’ new A320neo.
But its new 737 MAX is helping it overtake Airbus this year.
Airbus said last week it expects to deliver 580 aircraft this year, with gross orders of 600-650.
Airbus’ new business in October included the purchase of 15 A330-300s by Turkish Airlines and an additional order for four A350 XWB jetliners from Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways.
The planemaker added that it delivered five A380 superjumbos last month, taking the total since January to 22 and keeping Airbus on track to deliver 30 of the planes this year.
The company also previously targeted selling 30 of the superjumbo planes this year but has since said that could be tough to achieve. Airbus only sold four A380s during the 10-month period.