In April, Airbus pulled ahead of Boeing for the first time this year in terms of net new jet orders.
With its sales lead mainly due to the success of the A321neo, Airbus said Monday it will expand its manufacturing presence in the United States, adding 1,000 jobs in Mobile, Alabama.
According to data for April orders released Tuesday, Airbus booked 95 net new orders after cancellations in April, bringing its year-to-date total to 178. Boeing booked just a dozen net orders, bringing its total so far this year to 157.
The data also shows the European jet maker continues to outpace Boeing in deliveries, with 46% more jets delivered so far this year.
Airbus delivered 190 commercial airplanes in the first four months to Boeing’s 130 commercial airplanes.
The difference is down to the struggles of two critical Boeing programs — the 737 MAX and the 787 Dreamliner — as well as the sales dominance of the Airbus A321neo.
The success of the A321neo led Airbus last week to announce that it plans to increase production of the A320 family to 75 jets per month by 2025. To accomplish that it will open a new 350,000-square-foot final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, adding the 1,000 jobs there.
This will bring the total number of assembly lines in Mobile to three: two for the A320 jet family and one for the smaller A220.
Airbus Americas CEO Jeff Knittel said Monday that Airbus plans to break ground in the first half of next year and begin production in the new final assembly hall in the second quarter of 2025.
To support increased production at the Mobile site, he said Airbus will also build a new airplane paint shop and modify current hangars to a double-bay configuration by the end of 2023.
April orders, deliveries
In terms of deliveries, production of the MAX is still ramping up after the prolonged grounding that followed two crashes and so lags production of the Airbus A320neo jet family.
Airbus delivered 37 of its A320neo family in April, as well as four of its smaller single-aisle A220s. Boeing delivered 28 MAXs plus one 737-based P-8 anti-submarine jet for the U.S. Navy.
As for the 787, deliveries remain completely halted as Boeing continues to seek approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for its fixes to a series of manufacturing quality issues.
On the order front, the Airbus A321neo, with variants that offer longer range than the corresponding MAX 10 jet, remains the hottest-selling airplane.
The backlog of orders for this one model stands at 3,447 aircraft, slightly more than the entire MAX model backlog of 3,381 aircraft.
Of the Airbus orders in April, 92 were for the A320neo jet family, including 64 for the A321neo. Boeing booked a net total of just a dozen orders for the 737 MAX jet models.
Boeing also booked orders for two widebody 777F cargo planes, but at the same time canceled two orders for 787-10s.
The above tallies do not include the large jet order from Lufthansa that Boeing announced Monday. That order for seven 777X freighters, two current 777 freighters, and seven 787-10s will be included in the May order data.