MIAMI — Scott Hamilton is the managing director of Seattle-based Leeham Co. and editor of the Leeham News and Comment website. He recently looked at Boeing’s year-end numbers for Airways and agreed to do the same for Airbus.
The A318 posted no orders in 2014. “It’s a dead aircraft,” said Hamilton. “Airbus is still offering it up as the Airbus Corporate Jet, but even that is being moved up to the A319. It’s still up there for historical and data purposes, but it is a dead aircraft.”
The A319ceo had 29 orders, but 21 of them were canceled, leaving a net order of eight in 2014. The A319neo had four orders. “This is a dying airplane. Both Airbus and Boeing have been upgauging aircraft, so that leaves the A319 and the 737-700 at best, niche aircraft,” said Hamilton. “The 319 will become the ACJ. There will be very limited demand by the market for this airplane.”
The Airbus A320ceo had 293 orders in 2014, but with 138 canceled, the manufacturer was left with a net 155 orders. “Like the Boeing 737NG, the Airbus A320ceo is an airplane in transition,” said Hamilton. “But the airplane continues to sell OK. With a backlog of more than 2000 aircraft, Boeing still wins this competition.”
The A320neo got 824 orders in 2014. “The A320neo will go into service late this year, assuming there are no delays, a full two years before the 737MAX,” said Hamilton.
The A321ceo received 182 orders in 2014, but with 35 canceled, it left a net 134 orders for the year. “It has outsold the Boeing 900ER by two to one. It carries more passengers and, in some respects, a more capable plane,” said Hamilton. “And with the launch of A321neoLR, is as close to a 757 replacement that you can get, which will drive the 737-900 further into the dust.”
The A330-200 logged only 30 orders in 2014. “It has been eclipsed by the A330-300. The 200 has more range, but it’s also a smaller airplane and most airlines don’t need its 7200nm range,” said Hamilton. “Airlines prefer to have capacity, so they prefer the A330-300 with its 6200nm range.”
The freighter version of the A330 didn’t get an order in 2013 or 2014. “The new-built freighter market has been languishing because of the downturn in the cargo market. And cost of freighters versus the return on investment is challenging,” said Hamilton.
The A330-300 won 24 orders in 2014, but with 20 cancellations, it was left with a net of only four aircraft, while the A330-800 got 10 orders. “[The -800] is a long, thin market airplane that will be eclipsed by the A330-900 like the A330-200 was eclipsed by the A330-300. It will strictly be niche airplane,” said Hamilton.
The A330-900 received 110 orders in 2014. “This airplane will give Boeing a real run for its money with the 787. Boeing will suggest that the 787 has 9 to 10 percent economic advantage, but our numbers say it’s more like 2-3 percent,” said Hamilton. “And Airbus has the ability to price the A330-900 way down, and it’s available, where the 787 is not.”
The A350-800, which lost 12 orders in 2014, was described by Hamilton in one word: dead. But the A350-900, even with 57 orders and 51 cancellations in 2014 is still a real winner, he said. “Right now, it’s the airplane that is most in demand,” he said. “It will be a winner because it’s the right size airplane, with good economics and good range.”
The A350-1000 lost 20 orders in 2014. “It’s a good airplane, but not as good as it should have been. It’s about 30 seats too small,” said Hamilton. “A larger aircraft would have improved the economics. And a lack of delivery spots have suppressed sales.”
Finally, the A380 won 20 orders but had seven cancellation in 2014. “It’s a good airplane, but it has old engine technology by today’s standards,” said Hamilton. “I believe Airbus will launch the A380neo at the Paris Air Show and breathe new life into the program.”