Airbus books 259 orders in first half of 2022 as widebodies begin recovery

Twelve months ago, Airbus was looking at an order book for the first half of 2021 of just 38 aircraft. In the first six months of this year, Airbus recorded 259 net orders and closed the first half of 2022 with an order backlog of 7,046 aircraft.

A few big jobs make all the difference

The 80 A320neo jets are scheduled for delivery between 2027 and 2029. Photo: Airbus

In gross terms, Airbus secured 442 orders between January and June, offset by 183 cancellations, including 83 A330-900s canceled by an unnamed customer. The order book is dominated by four relatively large orders from aircraft rental company BOC Aviation for 80 aircraft, Australia’s Qantas Airways for 52 aircraft and two unnamed customers with orders for 54 and 46 aircraft. BOC Aviation has a portfolio of around 530 aircraft and has ordered 20 A320neo, 50 A321neo and ten A321XLR.

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The Qantas order was significant for the 12 A350-1000s that will fly direct services from Australia’s east coast to London and New York. This was a major win for Airbus, although the ongoing problems with the Boeing B777X made the A350 a standout choice. Qantas also took the opportunity to begin the renewal of its domestic B737 fleet by ordering 20 A220-300 and 20 A321neo. The 100 undisclosed orders are for a mix of A320neo and A321neo aircraft. Other orders for 20 or more aircraft include lessor Azorra Aviation, Jazeera Airways and JetBlue Airways, all of which are ordering A320neo Family aircraft.

Planes are going out the door and the backlog is growing

On the other side of the ledger, Airbus delivered 297 aircraft over the six months, including 25 A220s, 230 A320neo family, 13 A330s and 29 A350s. Airbus is showing good growth in A350-900 deliveries with 29 deliveries in the first half of 2022. Air France led with five, followed by British Airways with four, Turkish Airlines with three and two each Singapore Airlines, Delta Air Lines , Japan Airlines, and Iberia.

Air France took delivery of five Airbus A350-900s in the first half of 2022. Photo: Air France

The quality of the airlines and the wide geographic spread are an encouraging sign that widebody traffic is beginning to recover, albeit lagging far behind the narrowbodies. The new A350 Freighter has also done well with orders from Singapore Airlines, Air France, Silk Way West Airlines and Undisclosed (believed to be Etihad Airways). Airbus now has 31 firm orders for the A350F.

At the end of June, Airbus had unfulfilled orders for 7,046 aircraft. By family, this includes 544 A220s, 5,829 A320s, 219 A330s and 454 A350 family aircraft. Around 83% of the backlog is for A320s, with the bulk being Neos, so it’s easy to see why Airbus is looking to ramp up its production rate of single-aisle aircraft. Airbus is currently producing around 50 A320s per month, with plans to increase this to 65 per month by mid-2023 and 75 per month by 2025. As of today, the company has nearly a decade of A320 backlog, but at 75 a month, that’s shrinking to a more manageable six-and-a-half years. Airbus is also increasing monthly production of the A350 from five to six aircraft early next year and the A330 from two to three by the end of 2022.

Typically the big OEMs like to hold back orders so close to a major air show, so it will be interesting to see what they unveil at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK this month. Boeing has yet to release its June orders and deliveries, but at the end of May the company had received 107 net orders and delivered 165 aircraft year to date.

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