Boeing is booming. Airbus is second. Last year Boeing penciled in 1,203 commercial airplane orders, the second highest number in their history. They delivered 601 aircraft, the most since 1999. And they’ve got 4,373 airplane orders to fill, the most in their nearly 100 year history, which began in 1917 making seaplanes from spruce wood for the navy.
The hit single for Boeing is the 737, accounting for 1,124 of the 1,203 new net orders, according to a Boeing press release. And of those 737 orders, 914 are for the 737 Max with its redesigned fuel-efficient engine, scheduled to enter service in 2017.
And if you like really big numbers, in 2012 the 737 got its 10,000th order. Introduced in 1967, the twin-engine short- and medium-range airliner is the best-selling commercial jet aircraft in aviation history.
But Airbus is there too. According to The Seattle Times, Airbus’ 737 rival, the A320neo, which launched eight months before the Max and led Airbus to the #1 manufacturer spot in 2011, has outsold the Max by 680 orders.
Airbus and Boeing also are duking it out in big wide-body aircraft. You even got FT members weighing in on Boeing-Airbus design. Airbus is offering the all-composite plastic A350 to compete with Boeing’s Dreamliner, as well as Boeing’s plans for a 787-10, and 777s with new engines and composite-plastic wings.
By mid-December, Boeing reported 844 cumulative orders for the Dreamliner.
These are heady times for aircraft manufacturers. Last year, Boeing added 5,000 jobs in Washington state. The year before they added 8,300. They’ve now got a workforce of 87,000, the most employees since 1999.