Airbus Racks Up New Plane Orders; Racks Up Cancellations, Too

Airbus recently released its latest monthly sales report, covering sales landed in June, showing that to date, the European planemaker has booked:

  • 449 "gross" orders for A318, A319, A320, and A321 narrowbody jets.
  • 34 orders for larger A330 family aircraft (unchanged from last month).
  • 20 orders for superjumbo A380 jets (unchanged from last month).
  • 12 orders for the A350 widebody (unchanged from last month).

What has changed over the past month is that Airbus has picked up a boatload of new orders for its smaller airplanes, with orders for assorted A318, A319, A320, and A321 narrowbodies surging by 209 planes -- twice as fast as the pace at which Boeing racked up orders last month.

In total, Airbus has now accumulated new orders for 515 planes this year, dramatically narrowing the gap with Boeing. Still, once you subtract out cancellations this year -- 138 narrowbodies, 82 big A350s, and five A330s -- nearly half Airbus' potential gain for the year has evaporated. Net new orders through mid-year total just 290 planes. A big cancellation of A350s last month has left the company with a net loss of A350 plane orders for this year. That tally now stands at negative 70.

The upshot: As successful a month as June was for single-aisle sales, it doesn't change the fact that Airbus is now suffering order cancellations at more than four times the rate Boeing incurs them. In a world where some are starting to worry that plane sales might not be as robust going forward, as many investors had assumed they would be, that's reason for Airbus investors to worry.

Airubs said that during the first six months of 2014, it delivered 303 jetliners to 70 customers, compared with 295 in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Boeing released its latest weekly report of airplane orders received and canceled through the end of June last week. "Gross" orders taken in since the beginning of the year reached 553. After subtracting 54 plane orders canceled, this left the Seattle planebuilder with 499 net new orders, meaning the company has received orders for approximately 100 new planes over the past month.

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