Airbus vs. Boeing: Which aircraft maker excelled more in 2021?

An accurate answer requires a number of parameters: the number of aircraft delivered, ordered, active fleets, the number of flights and aircraft scrapped. All the details in the article

Airbus planes in the blue shell of Ita Airways. Airbus photo

The duopoly of the aircraft manufacturers Airbus – Boeing has existed for decades and with it the fierce competition between them. Boeing suffered a second blow in a row when the Boeing MAX 737s landed. Has the year with their return to service the balance of power changed? The answer to a question depends on a number of parameters:

Delivery of aircraft

Despite the Corona virus crisis the total number of aircraft delivered this year has increased. Boeing began releasing the backlog of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, while there were almost no deliveries of Dreamliner 787s.

According to official Boeing reports, Boeing delivered 302 aircraft, to 36 customers, in January-November 2021, of which two-thirds were Boeing MAX 737s and only 14 Dreamliner 787s, all delivered in two months in the second quarter. Airbus, on the other hand, delivered 518 aircraft to 80 different customers in January-November 2021.

Booking aircraft

Similar to shipments, new aircraft orders were also affected by the Corona plague for the second year in a row, although the two aircraft manufacturers recorded an impressive amount of orders at Dubai Air Show and some throughout the year.

Airbus has received new orders for 610 aircraft, however, Boeing has so far received 829 orders from various customers during the year. The two manufacturers reported their data only by November 30 and it is likely that additional orders were received by the end of the year.

Active fleets

Which manufacturer has the most active aircraft currently? Many aircraft are still grounded, such as the Airbus 380 A. According to ch-aviation data, there are currently 9,214 Airbus aircraft active in 426 airlines, including 7,462 narrow-body and 1653 wide-body. Compared to Airbus, 10,726 Boeing aircraft are active on 583 airlines, of which 7,634 are narrow-body and 3,092 wide-body.

Boeing 737 Max aircraft, back in operation. Photo Depositphotos

Number of active flights in 2021

A total of 18,309,109 passenger and cargo flights were planned at the two manufacturers, representing approximately 62% of all flights in 2021. Boeing aircraft operated 8,907,948 flights during the year and Airbus 9,401,161 flights. Going down to the micro, Boeing’s wide-body aircraft operated 1,103,294 flights compared to 645,220 in Airbus’ wide-body aircraft. In the body, Boeing settled for 7,804,654 compared to 8,744,941 at Airbus.

Aircraft scrapped in 2021

82 Airbus aircraft were scrapped during 2021 compared to 162 Boeing aircraft.

* Overall, Airbus wins (3: 2) by a less significant margin compared to last year. It was another challenging year for the two manufacturers, in which Airbus had to deal with paint problems of the Airbus A350 aircraft with Qatar Airways and other companies. Boeing, on the other hand, is in trouble with ordering the Dreamliner aircraft.

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Source: IAS by

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