Airbus and Boeing reported their full-year 2021 commercial aircraft deliveries this week, with both of the manufacturers seeing increases over 2020 delivery activity.
Both OEMs have had a rivalry for decades, fighting to be the top planemaker in the world.
The European planemaker’s 2021 deliveries totalled 611 commercial aircraft to 88 customers last year, up from 566 in 2020, making the airframer the world’s top commercial aeroplane company for the third successive year.
According to a Jan. 10 announcement from the French aeroplane maker, Airbus completed 483 total A320 family deliveries last year and also more than doubled its gross order intake compared to 2020.
Airbus also delivered 78 widebody aircraft to Boeing’s 77. This include 18 A330s, 55 A350s, and five A380s.
Last year also marked the very last A380 produced — as it was delivered in December to the world’s largest operator of the superjumbo, Emirates.
Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer, described the 2021 results as a year that “saw significant orders from airlines worldwide, signalling confidence in the sustainable growth of air travel post-COVID. While uncertainties remain, we are on track to lift production through 2022 to meet our customers’ requirements.”
The company also noted that 25% of its commercial aircraft were transported to airlines through the “e-Delivery” process that uses a new electronic Transfer-of-Title and ferry flight approach introduced by Airbus in 2020 to reduce the need for airlines to travel to receive newly manufactured aircraft.
Air Lease Corporation also became the launch customer of the A350 Freighter—the air cargo variant of the A350 introduced by Airbus last year—during the Dubai Air Show in November.
At the end of 2021, the Airbus commercial aircraft order backlog stood at 7,082 aircraft.
Though significantly improved, Boeing’s 2021 delivery figures lagged compared to those of competitor Airbus, with the American planemaker delivering over 340 jetliners to airlines and other buyers, up from 157 in 2020.
The deliveries were led largely by the 737 Max, which regulators worldwide had grounded for nearly two years after a fatal crash in 2018 and another in 2019.
For Airbus and Boeing, the key sign of recovery is new jet orders.
According to a report published on Tuesday by The Associated Press, the Chicago-based Boeing reported a total of 479 net orders in 2021, slightly lagging behind the 507 recorded by Airbus after both accounted for order cancellations.