SEATTLE - Despite Boeing's struggles with its 787 Dreamliner, the company's 2010 sales turned out much better than expected.
But Airbus, which had its own production woes on new airplane programs, had an even better sales year.
Airbus released 2010 sales and delivery figures Monday showing that the European planemaker had topped Boeing in both airplane deliveries and orders.
The Airbus figures included two details that point to 2011 as a pivotal year for Boeing:
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• With further 787 Dreamliner sales in limbo because of program delays now extending to three years, Airbus reversed the pattern of recent years and beat Boeing handily in widebody jet sales.
• And as part of its typical end-of-year sales dash, Airbus bagged the first firm order – from Virgin America – for the new A320neo, a re-engined version of the single-aisle jet set to debut in 2016.
If Boeing is to keep up with its European nemesis in 2011, it must not only finally deliver its Dreamliner but must also sell more 777 widebodies and decide on its response to the gathering sales momentum of the A320neo.
Airbus finished 2010 with 574 net new orders, compared to 530 for Boeing. That’s the third consecutive year Airbus sales have outpaced Boeing’s.
Factoring in order cancelations, Airbus sold a net 158 widebodies to Boeing’s 44 widebodies.
“2010 was a good year,” Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders said in a statement. “The market rebound and improved programme performance has been particularly encouraging.”
Airbus’s 2010 sales were worth $74 billion at list prices, though according to data provided by aircraft valuation firm Avitas, the actual market value after standard discounts is about $39 billion.
Based on the same Avitas valuations, Boeing’s sales tally was about $30 billion.
Airbus’s net order total was reduced by cancelations of 70 jet orders from previous years, compared to 95 such cancelations for Boeing.
Airbus delivered 510 jets to Boeing’s 462 jets. Of the 401 single-aisle airplanes that Airbus delivered, 26 of them rolled off its newest final assembly line in Tianjin, China.
Boeing’s only consolation in the figures is that the larger number of Airbus jets rolling out was balanced in dollar value by Boeing’s slight pricing advantage for single-aisle jets and by the buzzing Everett widebody production line that rolled out the expensive 777 jets.
After standard pricing discounts, the total dollar value of the 2010 deliveries is about $30 billion for both companies.