Contact Us   Site Map
Airline Mismanagement

The evolution of the airplane in its first 100 years has been extraordinary and has profoundly altered all our lives.

But what of the future? Has the pace of innovation slowed to a crawl? Can it not be revived?

The allure of enhanced aviation technology remains, but is Boeing willing to invest the money and take the risks to develop another revolutionary step forward in air transportation?

 
 
Travel Planning and Assistance
Road Warrior resources
How to Book and Buy Travel
Scary, Silly and Stupid Security Stories
Airline Reviews
Airline (Mis)!Management
Airline Zen :  Less is More
Air Fares Aren't Fair
Fixing Fares :  A Do-It-Yourself Guide
The Airlines' Fatal Mistake
Your Rights with Bankrupt Airlines
We need an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights
Are Electronics Safe to Use on Planes
This Bird Won't Fly
United's Undisclosed $15 Billion Asset
Six Steps to Success for United Airlines
Don't Do It, Delta!
Sir Richard Branson writes a letter - and sends a picture - to Qantas
Miscellaneous Features
Reference Materials
About the Travel Insider
 
Search
Looking for something else? Search over two million words of free information on our site.
Custom Search
 
Free Newsletter

In addition to our feature articles, we offer you a free weekly newsletter with a mix of news and opinions on travel related topics.

 

 View Sample
Privacy Policy

 
Help this Site
Thank you for your interest in helping this site to continue to develop. Some of the information we give you here can save you thousands of dollars the next time you're arranging travel, or will substantially help the quality of your travel experiences in other, non-cash ways. Click for more information
 
Reader's Replies

If you'd like to add your own commentary, send me a note.

Where is Boeing Going?

Part 5 :  Boeing's Planes - Key Facts and Figures
 

A 2000 NASA sketch of a Blended Wing Body plane.

Many industry watchers believe this developing such a radical new type of plane presents as Boeing's best strategy for the future.

Part 5 of a 5 part series - click for Parts  One  Two  Three  Four  Five

 

 

Here is some interesting information and 'facts and figures' that provides a quantitative background to our largely qualitative analysis in the first four parts of the series on Boeing.

This information is updated on a regular basis.

 

Chart 1 : Comparable Plane Performance

The break in these lines shows the change from propeller to jet powered planes.

There was fairly clear and steady progress until the jet age, but since that time, new plane designs were not based simply on 'bigger/better/faster' but instead on segmenting the market into different types of plane.

The range line has continued to increase, but the speed line has stayed flat.

Table 1 : Source Data for Chart 1
 

Plane First Commercial Flight Initial Passenger Capacity Speed Initial Range
B&W 1916 1 67 320
Model 40 1927 2 105 650
Model 80 1928 12 125 460
247 1933 10 189 745
314 Clipper 1938 74 184 3500
307 Stratoliner 1938 33 220 2400
377 Stratocruiser 1947 100 300 4200
         
707 1957 181 605 3000
727 1964 131 570 3110
737 1967 107 575 1150
747 1970 420 585 6000
757 1982 210 530 3800
767 1982 255 550 5600
777 1995 368 557 5955
787 2011 250 567 7800
737 update ~ 2017      

 

This table is a simplistic attempt to portray the evolution of Boeing's entire and broad product range. It reports only the range and passenger carrying capacities of the launch model of each series. Subsequent new models are likely to have quite different characteristics, carrying more (or fewer) passengers and for a greater (or lesser) distance.

Table 2 : Comparative Jet Plane Developments
 

Year

Boeing

Airbus

1954 Dash-80 prototype first test flight  
1955    
1956    
1957 707-120 FCF  
1958    
1959    
1960    
1961    
1962    
1963    
1964 727-100 FCF  
1965    
1966    
1967 727-200 FF  
1968 737-100 FCF
737-200 FCF
 
1969   A300B FF
1970 747-100 FCF  
1971 747-200 FCF  
1972    
1973    
1974   A300-B2 FF
1975    
1976 747SP FCF  
1977   A300-B4-100 FCF
1978    
1979    
1980    
1981    
1982 767-200 FCF  
1983 757-200 FCF
747-300 FCF
 
1984 737-300 FCF
767-200ER FCF
A300-600 FCF
A310-200 FCF
A310-300 FCF
1985    
1986 767-300 FCF  
1987    
1988 737-400 FCF
767-300ER FCF
A320-200 FCF
1989 747-400 FCF  
1990 737-500 FCF  
1991    
1992    
1993   A340-200 FCF
1994   A321-100 FCF
A330-300 FCF
1995 777-200 FCF  
1996   A319-100 FCF
1997 777-200ER FCF A321-200 FF
1998 737-600 FCF
737-700 FCF
737-800 FCF
777-300 FCF
A330-200 FCF
1999 757-300 FCF A318 FF
2000 767-400ER FCF A340-300 FCF
2001 737-900 FCF  
2002 747-400ER FCF A340-500 FCF
A340-600 FCF
2003   A318 FCF
2004    
2005   A380-800 FF
2006    
2007   A380-800 FCF
2008    
2009    
2010 787 FF  
2011 787 FCF
747-8F FF
747-8F FCF
 
2012    
2013   A350 FF
2014   A350 FCF ?
2015   A320neo FCF ?
2016    
2017 re-engined 737 ?  
2018    
2019    
2020    

 

This table generally shows the year that each plane flew for the first time commercially (FCF). Occasionally, it may also show the year the plane flew for the first time (FF).

Launch models of new product lines are shown in bold. Derivative models are not bolded.

Note that we are not considering the A318, A319, and A321 as new model planes, but instead consider them all as part of the A320 family.

Table 3 : Comparative annual deliveries of planes
 

Year

Boeing deliveries

Airbus deliveries

1989 284  105
1990 385  95
1991 435  163
1992 446  157
1993 330  138
1994 272  123
1995 207  124
1996 219  126
1997 321  182
1998 510 229
1999 573  294
2000 489  311
2001 527 325
2002 380 303
2003 281 305
2004 285 320
2005

290

378
2006 398
> 320 (est Jan06)
revised to 375-385 in Feb 06
revised to almost 400 late in 06
434
'more than 400' est in Jan06
2007 441 worth $50 billion list price
mid 400s est Dec 05
453 worth $42 billion list price
2008 375
(a 2 month strike impacted deliveries by an estimated 62 planes)
just under 500 est Dec 05
485 est Jan 08
483 actually delivered

500 est early Jan 08
more than 470 est mid Jan 08

2009 481
more than 500 est Dec 05
480-485 est Jun 09
498
525 est early Jan 08
440-450 est Mar 09 by analyst
483 est Apr 09 by Airbus
2010 462
more than 500 est Dec 05
460 - 465 est Jan 10
510
400 est Mar 09
480-500 est Jan10
2011 477
485 - 500 est Jan 11
534
2012 601 588
2013 648 626
2014 723 629
2015 762 635
2016 748 688

 

At the end of 2003, Boeing had approximately 1100 planes on order. Airbus had 1500.  At the end of 2005, Boeing had 1809 planes on order and Airbus 2177.  At the end of 2006, Airbus had 2,533 planes on order.  At the end of 2007, Airbus had 3,421 planes on order and Boeing had 3,400 planes on order.  At the end of 2011, Boeing had 3,771 planes on order and Airbus had 4,437.  At the end of 2013, Boeing had 5,080 orders (3,680 for the 737, 916 for the 787, 380 for the 777, 55 for the 747 and 49 for the 767) and Airbus had 5559 orders in its backlog.  At the end of 2014, Airbus had a backlog of 6386 planes - about nine years of production.

At the end of 2016, Boeing's backlog was 5,715 planes on order, and Airbus had 6,874 planes on order.

Table 4 : Comparative annual orders for planes
 

Year

Boeing new orders

Airbus new orders

1989 563 421
1990  456  404
1991 240 101
1992 230  136
1993 220 38
1994 112  125
1995 106
1996  435 (+ 40 McDonnell Douglas)  269 or maybe 326
1997   460
1998   556
1999 368  379 or maybe 476
2000  602  520 gross;  441
2001 314 375 gross; 274
2002 250 348 gross; 233
2003 250 331 gross; 254
2004 277 447 gross; 366
2005 1029 (gross before future cancellations)
1002 net
1111 gross; 1055 net
2006 1050 gross; 1044 net 824 gross; 790 net
2007 1423 gross; 1413 net
list price $171 billion
(Boeing's best year to date)
1458 gross; 1341 net
list price $157 billion
(cancelled A350 orders explain the big difference)
2008 662 net 900 gross
777 net (est)
2009 263 gross; 142 net 310 gross, 271 net
2010 625 gross, 530 net 644 gross, 574 net
250-300 proj Jan10 including 4 orders totalling less than 10 A380s
2011 921 gross; 805 net 1608 gross; 1419 net
2012  1339 gross; 1203 net 914 gross; 833 net
2013 1531 gross; 1355 net 1619 gross; 1503 net
(Airbus' best year ever)
2014  1550 gross; 1432 net
(Boeing's best year ever)
1456 net
2015 878 gross; 768 net 1080
2016  848 gross; 668 net 949 gross; 731 net
2017 - -

 

Counting orders is as much an art as a science, because each year sees a mix of 'firm' orders, provisional orders, letters of intent, and options being secured.  Plus, some options and other non-firm orders convert to firm orders, and even some firm orders are cancelled.  And an airline might change an order for one type of plane to an order for a different type of plane, or might give/sell its place in line for future deliveries to another airline.

Some orders get delayed so repeatedly as to be meaningless (think Virgin Atlantic and its A380 orders) and other orders are clearly never going to occur because the airline in question lacks the financial strength to survive and pay for the planes when they start to be delivered.

Making a consistent determination from this morass of order-type activity into what actually represents real, definite, and certain new business is very difficult, and there is every chance that different sources will record different numbers.  Treat the numbers in the table above with caution.

It is also worth noting that both the preceding two tables do not distinguish between small planes and large planes, and so the numbers of planes does not directly match the dollar values.  Should a 737 order/delivery be equated with a 747 delivery; a 319 with a 380?  For example, in 2005, Boeing's 1029 orders represented a list price total of about $116 billion, whereas Airbus' 1111 orders represented about $96 billion.  This was because Boeing's orders in 2005 were more strongly skewed to larger plane types while Airbus' orders were more strongly skewed to smaller plane types.

Note also that Airbus does not disclose net new orders, this information has to be calculated and derived from other information they release.

Who is the Largest Airplane Manufacturer?

The definition of 'who is the largest aircraft manufacturer' is open to some debate and is surprisingly difficult to establish! Six measures could be used :

  • The company with the most planes in current service - this suffers from tracking historical past sales rather than present and future sales

  • Annual sales - unfortunately, because 'sales' typically occur up to five years before delivery, the reality of a sale can vary enormously between when it is first recorded and the plane is finally delivered

  • Annual deliveries - this is a good measure - the number of planes actually delivered in a year. But should all planes be counted with equal measure - for example, an A380 costs almost five times a small 737! Even this measure has some limitations

  • Dollar value of annual deliveries - this would be a useful measure, but neither Boeing nor Airbus wish to disclose the exact nature of the discounts they give to customers. List prices can be discounted as much as 30% and sometimes more, so it can be hard to establish the actual dollar value of planes delivered each year.

  • Corporate turnover - this may include all sorts of income sources such as spare part sales, maintenance, and training, in addition to basic airline sales

  • Forward orders - due to the rather subjective nature of what is a sale, and the difference in importance between an order for a big/expensive plane and a small/inexpensive plane, this too is a less than fully accurate measure

General Notes

For additional information about plane types from all manufacturers, visit our page of data on airplane types.

That page also contains notes about how the information was gathered and the inherent limitations in accuracy of the information displayed.

Read more in the rest of this five part series

Part 1 :  Boeing's early years

Part 2 :  Boeing's best years

Part 3 :  Boeing in decline

Part 4 :  Does Boeing have a future

Part 5 :  Key facts and figures about Boeing, its planes, and its competition
 

If you liked this, you might also enjoy our multi-part series 'Airbus Fires the First Shot in the New A320/737 War with Boeing'.

 

If so, please donate to keep the website free and fund the addition of more articles like this. Any help is most appreciated - simply click below to securely send a contribution through a credit card and Paypal.

 

Originally published 26 Dec 2003, last update 08 Jul 2017

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
Related Articles
Boeing - The Early Years
Boeing's Best Years
Boeing in Decline
Boeing Today - but perhaps not tomorrow
Boeing - Key Facts and Figures
Boeing vs Airbus book review
Concorde - an Untimely and Unnecessary Demise
Airplane Data
 
 

 


Your Feedback

How Would You Rate this Article

Poor
Average
Good

Was the Article Length and Coverage

Too short/simplistic
About right 
Too long/complex

Would You Like More Articles on this Subject

No
Maybe
Yes

Back to Top