MIAMI – Due to COVID-19, international air travel drastically dropped to almost nil and airlines delayed or canceled their large aircraft orders.
According to Aviation Week data, a total of 814 aircraft were delivered in 2020 compared to 1,492 in 2019, showing a reduction of 45%. We’ll talk bout the biggest two: Airbus and Boeing.
For Airbus wide-bodies, this meant that only 19 A330 and 59 Airbus A350 aircraft were delivered. Including the four A380s delivered to Emirates (EK), that totals 83 wide-bodies for the airframer This is more than 50% lower than in 2019 (173).
The Toulouse, France-based manufacturer, indicated that it received 268 net orders throughout the year, with 115 cancellations. The production numbers have since been re-adjusted according to current demand. Currently, the company is producing two A330 and five A350 aircraft per month. This is as in regards to wide-bodies only.
Boeing passenger aircraft deliveries were few and far between. This excludes the 787. The 747-8 and 767 were delivered as freighter or designated as the KC-46, as a mid-air refueling aircraft. According to Aero Time, out of the 26 Triple Seven deliveries, six were destined to carry passengers and not freight.
By the end of the year, Boeing 787 deliveries had slowed down, as the manufacturer faced production problems. These forced the company to review its whole supply chain order to rectify the problem.
There’s an agreement that the wide-body segment will take many years to get back to where it was. However, still before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the wide-body market had been slowing down. This was partly because of over ordering during the boom in the early 2010s.
As the industry works hard to fly out of the crisis, airlines could opt to use more long-haul narrow bodies that makes it possible to cut back on investment and recurring costs, further dampening the demand for wide-bodies.
Featured image: Airbus A350. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways