Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wide Body Orders Who's Doing What To Whom

Winging It has taken a notion that an airline company plans its immediate fleet needs within a five year cycle. Order books have filled up the Wide Body type such as the 787 and A350. The following review attempts to remain objective in its analysis but a counter view is expected from a Boeing slant. Below is a five year cycle of gross orders from January 2012 through December 2016. Most customers expect a longer delivery wait than historical production data from manufacturers deliver performance.

A 777-300-ER is an immediate delivery within three years. The 787 family of aircraft maybe five years or longer and the same for the A350. There are model variances within the manufacturer ability to deliver in a five year time frame.

Why the five year time frame? Most customers have plans and resources which take five years to evolve and those customers try to have some kind of just-in-time fleet management which will synchronize with the aforementioned plans and resources. However, the competitive nature from customers have filled up the wait lists beyond seven years for certain models such as the 787 and A-350. Some models are in a slow order pace and can fill an order quicker such the 777-300-ER. The 777X is a lady in waiting since it won't enter service until about 2020. There are no straight lines for the delivery schedule if ordering today. 


A further examination is from a chart below which may surprise some as notions of supremacy of one framer of WB over the other where in fact it is a close contest after-all.

Five Year Ordering Chart from 1-2012 through 2016 

The above chart are wide body gross orders over the last five years and much can be analysed from the gross order number.

Gross orders are used as a guideline for an apple to apple comparison. Net number are a more accurate number set as conversions and cancellations are figured into the data. Making the analysis is simpler if using gross numbers and assumes no order changes.

Discussion Points:


  • Gross Units Ordered is a common rule

  • The timeline from announced new models do not always sync up with a competing model.

  • Timeline for retired models do not always sync up with a competitor model actively ordered.

  • Market trends for WB Models are volatile.

  • Raw numbers indicate a very close competition.


Boeing has a marginal lead of wide bodies ordered over the last five years. Its 1,150 gross WB ordered is 68 more than Airbus which its lead could be wiped out in one airshow order announcement. 

Boeing announced the 787 about thirteen years ago where it amassed a considerable order book before the data started a tally since 2012. The Airbus A-350 was announced about 2006 and was in a peak  order period where it received a solid number of its A350 orders after 2012. Timing of this data is affected by program order capability.

Both the 777 and A-330 family of aircraft were sold at extreme discounts so the manufacturer could 
transition from the 777-ER to the 777X and the A-330 CEO  could transition both the A-330 NEO and A-350 models. Both manufactures were jockeying airplane model types combating each others moves in anticipation of market demand.

The above chart has provided matching of models in an attempt to best illustrate some kind of head to head WB order battle as exampled by the 787 vs the A-330 and the 777 vs the A350.

A summary account determines the following: 

The A-350 and A-380 are both stalling with its orders while the 787 and 777X have taken -off with robust ordering. 

The Airbus A-330 line-up is causing the WB competition to be very close, but it can't sustain its reach unless the A-330-9 NEO can sustain an order influx. 

As close as the gross order numbers are, Boeing has positioned itself with a strong wide-boy offering from top to bottom using freight and passenger airplane orders in combination creating an order synergy for which Airbus lacks.