Taking the Lead: Boeing Soars Past Airbus in Deliveries
For the first time in a decade, Boeing has surpassed Airbus in deliveries of passenger jets. Experts blame strategic errors and the influence of politics at the US planemaker’s European competitor.
At the last Farnborough Air Show in Britain in July, Boeing came up with a unique idea. For almost 30 years, the company had always left its passenger planes on the ground at major air evebtss where industry representatives meet. At Farnborough, though, a Boeing 787 with Qatar Airways’ livery droned over spectators’ heads. The performance jibed nicely with Boeing’s overall performance, and the company stole the show from Airbus, securing billions of dollars worth of orders.
In fact, 2012 went so well for Boeing that the American company has now surged ahead of its European rival Airbus in deliveries. According to analysts’ calculations, Boeing now carries the prestigious title of being the world’s largest deliverer of passenger jets. The reason for the success is the 787, or Dreamliner, which had been plagued for years with development and production problems.
With its high share of carbon fiber, particularly in the tail, the 787 was meant to revolutionize aircraft construction. But the first Dreamliners were delivered in 2011, after a three-year delay. Then engine trouble and loose parts on the tail resulted in negative headlines for the company. In December 2012, the American air safety regulatory agency, the FAA, ordered that all US Dreamliners be inspected for fuel leaks.