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Posted February 19, 2009 11:05 AM
By Jake Reppert

Airbus and Boeing Backlogs

Manufacturers Backlog

 

Investors are paying close attention to the Airbus and Boeing backlogs, with particular attention being paid to their vulnerability.  A few months ago we had stated that there was potential for as many as 200 white tails to be produced throughout the duration of the downturn, largely depending on how bad it gets and how long it lasts.  In fact, we weren’t the only ones saying this. That said I thought it would be useful to highlight some of other the key dynamics of the two biggest manufacturers backlogs that could also factor into the “white tails” equation.

Airbus Backlog

The Airbus backlog totals 980 aircraft for delivery in the remainder of 2009 and 2010.  Just over 70% of the airbus backlog is due for delivery to operators in Europe and Asia / Pacific, with 356 aircraft going into Europe and 338 going into the Asia / Pacific region.  Airbus has a significant amount of deliveries going into the Middle East over the considered period, with the region accounting for just over 10% of the Airbus backlog with 103 aircraft.  Their backlog is exposed to the economies of North America on 93 orders, with the remainder of their backlog going to Latin America & Caribbean and Africa.  There are another 20 aircraft on the Airbus order books to be delivered by 2010 to lessors  for which the operator area is not yet known. 

 

Airbus backlog by country (2009 – 2010)

Source:  Ascend Online Fleets Database

 

Over the next two years the Airbus backlog is very focused on the passenger sector, with 95% of deliveries due to enter service in passenger configuration.  The remainder of the backlog is due for Business / Executive / Corporate, Freight / Cargo, Tanker, and VIP service.  Only around ten aircraft are due for delivery in cargo configuration. 

As the above graph details, the Airbus backlog is skewed heavily toward narrowbody aircraft, reflecting the traditional source of demand for both replacement and growth. The widebody market has traditionally been smaller. Even so, we suspect there has been a general “under ordering” of widebody types, which, together with delays in delivery of the A380 and B787 has restricted capacity growth and turned into a saving grace for widebody types and supported their market values resilient relative to narrowbodies.

Boeing Backlog

Based on recent schedules, Boeing has approximately 1,038 aircraft due for delivery through 2010, with 382 (37%) going to the Asia / Pacific region, 259 (25%) to North America, and 327 (23%) to Europe.  Latin America & Caribbean, The Middle East, and Africa account for only 14% of the backlog combined, with operator customers for the remainder yet to be identified. 

 

Airbus backlog by country (2009 – 2010)

Source:  Ascend Online Fleets Database

 

By operator category Boeing is exposed to freight operators on 75 delivery slots, or roughly 7% of their backlog.  A further five aircraft are destined for Business / Executive / Corporate operators, another five are to be equipped for surveillance missions.  The overwhelming majority is due to enter passenger service. 

The Boeing backlog is similar to the Airbus backlog in that it leans heavily toward narrowbody aircraft.  Boeing’s backlog does however make a recognizable shift toward widebody aircraft deliveries near the middle of 2010, which continues throughout the considered period.

 

Next Steps

 

Recent announcements by both manufacturers that production rates will slow, were welcomed by the industry. Indeed, if fewer aircraft are built, the potential “funding gap” is reduced.

 

Looking ahead, the indicators to watch on the order backlogs are the performance of key regions and carriers where the manufacturers have concentrations of aircraft due for delivery. The manufacturers have a difficult and complex job to do in managing challenging times and will no doubt work hard to achieve as stable an environment as is possible.

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