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Updated Friday, January 18, 2013 at 09:52 AM

Boeing gets bragging rights back as No. 1 plane-maker

By Dominic Gates and Justin Mayo
Seattle Times staff reporters

Boeing officially regained the crown of world’s No. 1 commercial jet-maker Thursday — although a day after its flagship 787 Dreamliner was grounded, no one at Boeing was breaking out the Champagne.

Early Thursday in France, Airbus announced its final 2012 sales and delivery tally, confirming that for the first time in a decade Boeing both sold more jets and built more jets than its European rival.

Boeing delivered 601 commercial jets last year with a market value of about $46.3 billion, based on pricing data from aircraft valuation firm Avitas.

Airbus delivered 588 commercial jets, with an Avitas-estimated market value of about $37.2 billion.

On the sales side, Boeing last year raked in net orders for 1,203 jets, the vast majority of those for its forthcoming single-aisle 737 MAX family, to be built in Renton and scheduled to enter service in 2017.

According to Avitas data, the value of Boeing’s orders was about $68.8 billion.

Airbus booked orders for 833 jets, valued at $46.7 billion.

Boeing’s victory in sales was expected. Airbus had a runaway sales win in 2011 with its rival A320neo family, and in 2012 Boeing’s newly offered MAX was playing catch-up.

Boeing booked orders for 914 MAXs during the year.

However, the Airbus neo still sold very well in 2012 and it remains far ahead of the MAX in sales.

The A320neo tally now stands at 1,734 firm orders. The MAX, launched nine months later, has 1,064 firm orders.

That’s a 62 percent share for the neo so far.

The current generation 737 and A320 jet families split the market roughly in half.

Boeing’s 777 continued to sell well and, with no Airbus competition yet available in that large twinjet segment, 777 deliveries brought in almost $14 billion in cash.

In the midsize jet market, Boeing’s older 767 is still selling but was far outshone by Airbus’ A330.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, however, began at last in 2012 to offer substantial cash flow in this segment.

Although the Dreamliner lost sales in the year, with a net decline of 12 jet orders, Boeing delivered 46 of the new jets and brought in more than $5 billion.

That delivery performance was expected to at least double in 2013, but now that ramp-up is uncertain with the planes grounded due to fears of battery fires.

The Federal Aviation Administration action managed to draw all attention away from Boeing’s 2012 victory.

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Dominic Gates: (206) 464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com






The Seattle Times
Despite the grounding of the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing will continue to build the jetliner, employing thousands of workers both locally and in Charleston, S.C. These 787s, in various stages of completion, are scattered around Paine Field in Everett.




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