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Airbus, Boeing Focus on Different Aircraft Delivery Targets


In a previous blog from April 23, 2015, I analyzed Boeing and Airbus deliveries by day of the month for the past five years and showed how they tend to be skewed toward the end of each month. With Airbus revealing a record-breaking 111 deliveries for December 2016, I decided to analyze deliveries for both Boeing and Airbus by month for the past five years.

In theory, 8.33% of an aircraft manufacturer's yearly delivery total is delivered each month (8.33% x 12 = 100%). In reality, many factors cause this percentage to vary, but some interesting patterns still emerge when looking at these percentages.

The line graph below reveals that for January, on average, neither Airbus or Boeing come close to reaching the theoretical 8.33% delivery mark, presumably because of the holidays. Looking at the rest of the chart, it shows that deliveries by Boeing tend to increase at the end of each quarter while deliveries by Airbus show a very noticeable increase in December. From this, we can only assume that Boeing tends to focus on quarterly deliveries while Airbus appears to lean more towards yearly deliveries.



The bar chart below shows the average day that the first aircraft of each month is delivered. While the data for February through December shows nothing very meaningful, it does show that both manufacturers wait until a least a week into each new year to resume deliveries which helps explain why neither manufacturer comes close to hitting that theoretical 8.33% delivery mark in January.



If there's anything else to be learned here, it's that aircraft are not delivered at a steady monthly rate as might be implied by manufacturer's announced monthly production rates. 


An A321 is seen here at Airbus' Mobile delivery center after being ceremoniously handed over to JetBlue in April 2016. Airbus delivered 52 aircraft that month compared to 111 just eight months later.

Photo credit: Brian Bostick

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