Airbus Outperforms Boeing Despite Supply Chain Challenges


Airbus, the European aerospace giant, has widened its lead against its American rival Boeing in terms of orders and deliveries in 2023. However, both manufacturers are facing persistent supply chain bottlenecks that could hamper their production plans for the next year.

Airbus Leads in Orders and Deliveries

According to the latest data published by Airbus and Boeing, the former has beaten the latter in both orders and deliveries so far in 2023. Airbus had a total of 172 deliveries in the third quarter of 2023, with the majority being single-aisle jets like the A220 and A320neo. Boeing, on the other hand, delivered only 105 aircraft in the same period, suffering from supply chain issues and production quality lapses.

In terms of orders, Airbus also had an edge over Boeing, securing 269 net orders in the first nine months of 2023, compared to 203 for Boeing 2. Airbus’ backlog stood at 6,785 aircraft as of September 30, 2023, while Boeing’s backlog was 4,117 aircraft as of the same date.

Airbus’ strong performance reflects its resilience and adaptability in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely disrupted the global aviation industry. Airbus has managed to maintain a steady production rate and meet customer demand, especially for its popular narrow-body aircraft. Boeing, meanwhile, has struggled to recover from the grounding of its 737 MAX, which was only cleared to fly again in late 2022, as well as the reduced demand for its widebody aircraft.


Airbus Plans to Ramp Up Production

Airbus is not resting on its laurels, however. The company is planning to ramp up its production rate over the next few years to meet the massive growth in its backlog. Airbus is aiming to increase its A320 family aircraft production rate from 45 per month in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 65 per month by the middle of 2023 and is considering going all the way to 70–75 per month by 2024.

This is a steep slope for the company’s supply chain, which is already facing difficulties with raw materials, logistics, energy costs, and labor shortages. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury acknowledged that raising production rates will be a “complex” challenge for suppliers and said that the company is still discussing the feasibility of going beyond 65 per month.

“We need to look at the balance between demand and supply and the ability of the supply chain to accelerate at a certain pace,” Faury said. “We’re still discussing 70, 75 [per month], but we want to look at the stability of the [supply chain] system.”

Boeing Expects Supply Chain Problems to Persist

Boeing, on the other hand, is more cautious about its production plans, given the uncertainty and volatility in the market. Boeing CEO David Calhoun said that the U.S. aerospace manufacturer expects the current supply chain problems to continue until the end of 2023 and that labor shortages at medium and small suppliers are the main cause.

Boeing is currently producing 16 737 MAX aircraft per month and plans to increase that to 31 by early 2022. However, some analysts doubt that Boeing can achieve that target, given the ongoing issues with its suppliers and customers. Boeing also faces challenges with its widebody aircraft, such as the 787 Dreamliner, which has been plagued by production defects and delivery delays.

Boeing’s outlook is more uncertain than Airbus’, as it depends on the recovery of the global travel demand, especially for long-haul flights, which have been hit harder by the pandemic. Boeing also needs to restore its reputation and trust with regulators, customers, and the public, after the 737 MAX crisis and the subsequent investigations and lawsuits.


Airbus and Boeing are the two dominant players in the global aerospace industry, and their competition is fierce and dynamic. Both companies have their strengths and weaknesses, and both face similar challenges in the post-pandemic era. However, Airbus seems to have an advantage over Boeing at the moment, as it has delivered more aircraft, secured more orders, and planned more production increases. Boeing, meanwhile, is still trying to overcome its past troubles and catch up with its rival. The future of the industry will depend on how both companies can cope with the supply chain constraints and the changing market conditions.

Written by
Emily Preston

Emily Preston is a creative and dynamic writer who has a strong idea and vision for every project. She can take quick and effective decisions in any situation, and deliver high-quality articles in a timely manner. She has a knack for writing fast and engaging content that captures the attention and interest of the readers. She has worked on various topics and categories, such as health, fashion, travel, and more. She is also adept at using different formats and styles, such as blogs, newsletters, reviews, and more. Emily holds a bachelor's degree in communication from UCLA and a master's degree in creative writing from NYU. She is currently working as a freelance writer and editor, helping clients with their content and publishing needs. In her spare time, she likes to paint, dance, and cook.

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