Aviation

Boeing gains early 2016 lead in narrowbody jet deliveries

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In the first four months of 2016, Boeing is leading Airbus in narrowbody jetliner deliveries — an important aircraft type for Wichita.

That’s according to information released Tuesday by Airbus, in which it said that through April 30 it has delivered 144 single-aisle aircraft — comprising its A320 family of airplanes — compared with deliveries of 156 Boeing 737 airplanes through May 2.

Airbus, however, remains comfortably ahead of Boeing on the narrowbody order books, with 5,479 aircraft compared with Boeing’s 4,363. That’s 25 percent more — or 1,116 single-aisle jets — than Boeing’s order book.

And as Scott Hamilton, managing director of aerospace industry consultancy Leeham Co., wrote Tuesday on the Leeham News and Comment blog, Boeing’s narrowbody lead could be short-lived.

“On the narrow-body sales, Boeing is just cleaning Airbus’ clock YTD,” Hamilton wrote. “It’s still early in the year.”

Spirit AeroSystems, Wichita’s largest private employer, manufactures 70 percent of the 737 — including Boeing’s current Next Generation 737 and the new Max variant.

Spirit also builds parts of Airbus aircraft, including the A320 at its plants in Saint-Nazaire, France; Prestwick, Scotland; and Kinston, N.C.

It’s not clear whether various media reports earlier this year about software and hardware problems with the A320neo’s new Pratt & Whitney engines have affected Airbus’ narrowbody deliveries in 2016.

Boeing also led Airbus on widebody deliveries in the four month-period: 74 for Boeing and 33 for Airbus, according to the companies’ reports.

Boeing also commands the most orders for twin-aisle jets, with 1,357 orders for the 747, 777 and 787. Spirit also builds parts of those widebody airplanes in Wichita.

That compares with 1,267 orders for Airbus widebodies that include the A330, A340, A350 and A380.

Airbus took 92 airplane orders in the first four months of 2016, while Boeing took 156.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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