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Boeing's 737 Max Debacle Helps Airbus Take Off

Archan Sarkar

The year 2019 has been pretty damaging for U.S. aircraft manufacturing giant, Boeing BA, thanks to massive commercial aircraft order cancellations and dismal commercial deliveries. The grounding of 737 Max jets in March 2019 following two crashes claiming 346 lives wreaked havoc.

This opened up substantial scope for Boeing’s arch rival, Airbus EADSY in the commercial jet space. Recently, the European plane maker seized the title of the world’s largest plane maker for the first time in eight years.

A Closer at Boeing’s Lost Orders

Per a report by CNBC, the aerospace giant lost orders for 87 aircraft at the end of 2019, which implies more cancellations than new orders. There was an approximate 90% drop in orders for 737 jets during the year, per CNN. The grounding combined with other issues also led to a decline in sales of other aircraft models. Naturally, the other models saw a 29% drop in new orders.

A Shift in Focus

With Airbus snatching the larger chunk of orders last year, Boeing could only record a total of 54 jetliner sales, net of cancellations and conversions, compared with 768 recorded by Airbus, per a Bloomberg report.

As expected, things transpired the same way when in June 2019, a state-run Saudi Arabian Airlines, named Flydeal canceled orders for 30 Boeing 737 Max jets, worth $5.9 billion at list prices and decided to purchase 50 Airbus A320neo-family jets instead.

As problems deepened during the year for Boeing, airline companies such as United Airlines UAL and American Airlines Group AAL decided to shift to Airbus.

In June, American Airlines ordered 50 new Airbus A321XLR aircrafts which would eventually replace Boeing's aging 757 fleet. Last December, United Airlines announced plans of replacing the existing fleet of Boeing 757s with 50 Airbus A321XLR long range aircraft for an undisclosed amount.

Meanwhile, rumors surrounding all-Boeing operator Southwest Airlines’ LUV order for an Airbus aircraft have been doing the rounds. The story surfaced after the company’s meeting with an Airbus A220 operator back in April 2019.

Southwest Airlines’ CEO told Bloomberg Markets that management expects him consider purchasing planes from other aircraft makers, which could most certainly be Airbus.

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