Okay, so who’s the most successful aircraft maker in the world? Yes I know it’s a silly question, it depends on how you define successful but the two behemoths, Airbus and Boeing, have just released numbers for the fourth quarter that top off their 2014 performance.
The FT reports Airbus hit a new production record to supply 629 aircraft in 2014, marking 13 consecutive years of increased deliveries. Not to be outdone, Boeing delivered 723 aircraft in the period, making the US group the world’s largest manufacturer of aircraft for the third year in a row. So colors to Boeing then? Well, not quite because according to the Telegraph Airbus booked 1,456 net new orders for its aircraft in 2014 – net aircraft being new orders less cancellations, their second-best year ever and down only 3% on 2013 when they sold 1,503 aircraft.
Boeing, by comparison, booked 1,432 new orders in 2014 so, counting new orders, Airbus came out on top. Both firms have massive forward-order books, or a backlog on deliveries depending on how you want to term it. This is great for suppliers, both mills and distributors, who can see a book of business stretching off into the future. No wonder aluminum extrusion and plate mills capable of meeting the requirements of the aerospace industry are investing with more confidence in capacity and supply chain logistics than any other – with the notable exception of automotive which, like aerospace, appears to be on a long-term growth trend for aluminum consumption.