Boeing hits 2023 jet delivery goal but lags Airbus

By Valerie Insinna

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Boeing met jetliner delivery goals and recorded a 70% boost to net orders in 2023, reflecting strong air travel and aircraft demand, while European rival Airbus remained the largest planemaker for the fifth year running.

Boeing released its year-end figures on Tuesday as it contends with the fallout from an accident involving an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9, which lost a fuselage panel in mid-air last week.

The U.S. planemaker delivered 528 aircraft in 2023 and booked 1,314 net new orders after allowing for cancellations, up from 480 deliveries and 774 net new orders in 2022 and its third-best year.

It delivered 396 narrowbody 737 jets last year, meeting its revised goal of at least 375 single-aisle planes but falling short of the initial target of 400 to 450 jets.

The target was downgraded in October after a manufacturing flaw by fuselage supplier Spirit AeroSystems forced the it to inspect planes, slowing deliveries.

Boeing delivered 73 787 Dreamliners in 2023, meeting its goal of 70 to 80 aircraft.

Boeing’s orders and deliveries will be eclipsed by its European rival Airbus, which broke industry records for gross and net orders and beat its delivery target of 720 airplanes in 2023 with 735 deliveries, sources have said.

Based on January-November Airbus figures alone, the European planemaker came out on top for a fifth year.

Based on Boeing full-year data and the 735 Airbus deliveries cited by industry sources, Boeing’s market share against its rival held steady at 42%, compared with 50% before an earlier crisis caused by a wider grounding of all MAX jets in 2019.

Boeing won 1,456 gross orders for 2023, or 1,576 net orders after accounting adjustments.

In December, the company booked 371 gross orders, including highest-ever monthly sales of the 737 MAX at 301 planes. Spanish carrier Air Europa canceled a booking for two Dreamliners.

The company delivered 44 737 MAXs and one older-model 737NG last month. It also handed over seven 767s, four 777 freighters and 11 787s.

Its order backlog increased from 5,324 to 5,626.

Airbus is set to announce orders and deliveries on Thursday.

Boeing executives are expected to lay out new goals for 2024 alongside fourth-quarter results on Jan. 31.

(Reporting by Valerie Insinna and Tim Hepher; Editing by Jamie Freed)