By Olivia Bugault


Airbus SE (AIR.FR) has delivered 138 aircraft in December, reaching a total of 863 handovers last year and officially making it the biggest plane maker ahead of Boeing Co. (BA).

The European plane maker has outstripped its U.S. rival for the first time since 2011 as Boeing has been hit hard by the grounding of its best-selling 737 MAX jet worldwide, the worst crisis in its history.

Airbus has beaten its own delivery expectations in 2019--after trimming its guidance in October from 880-890 to 860 jets delivered--while also handing over 63 more jets than in 2018.

The year ends on a good note for Airbus despite production issues which caused delays in the delivery of its A320neo family jets.

Airbus has also received 768 net orders in 2019.

On the U.S. side, Boeing's delivery figure last year has been largely deflated by the grounding of its 737 MAX since March and the halt in deliveries which followed two fatal crashes. Boeing totals 380 deliveries in 2019, hundreds fewer than a year earlier, after delivering 35 jets in December.

The U.S. plane maker has halted production of its 737 MAX jet this month in a crisis that has already cost the company billions of dollars while also hitting its suppliers and airlines.

Boeing has also flagged a total of 246 gross jet orders in 2019.

Boeing reported December deliveries on Jan. 14, while Airbus released the figures last week.

December            138               35 
 2019               863               380 
 2019 Target        860               Suspended 
 Source: Boeing, Airbus 


- CMC Markets' David Madden: "In light of the decision to suspend production of the 737 Max plane, Boeing is unlikely to regain the top spot anytime soon."

- Jefferies: "At the 3Q 2019 stage, we welcomed Airbus's decision to reduce its FY 2019 deliveries target from 880-890 to 860 if it makes the profile of FY 2020 deliveries smoother, resulting in less volatility in free cash flow and earnings before interest and taxes between quarters."

- Citi about Airbus' A330neo good order surprise: "It is true the A330neo is running at much lower production, but with 331 A330 orders outstanding and annual production of about 50, it is looking in pretty good shape."


Write to Olivia Bugault at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 14, 2020 12:10 ET (17:10 GMT)

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