Airbus has confirmed it “achieved 800 commercial aircraft deliveries” in 2018, thus concluding the year in a close finish against Boeing, which handed over 806 commercial aircraft.
The target for 2018 was achieved, an Airbus spokesperson said. Airbus plans to release the “final 2018 audited commercial aircraft order and delivery numbers” on Wednesday. The totals include the A220, formerly known as Bombardier CSeries.
Airbus, like Boeing, faced production challenges last year. By the end of 2018, Airbus had almost completely cleared the backlog of undelivered A320neo-family aircraft; 100 had been parked in Toulouse and Hamburg last summer waiting for Pratt & Whitney and CFM International engines. Toward year-end, engine deliveries came in at the expected flow rate, allowing Airbus to catch up.
An initiative to increase automation on the fourth narrowbody final assembly line in Hamburg gave disappointed results.
By mid-2019, the company plans to deliver 60 narrowbodies monthly, with the mix shifting strongly toward the A320neo family and the share of A320 classics diminishing over time.
One question Airbus will likely address again in 2019 is whether it can raise single-aisle production beyond 60 per month—and if so, when. The sales team earlier pushed for increased output. The production side and suppliers, however, made it clear they were not ready.