Boeing, Airbus Set Delivery Records In 2015, But Sales Were Down

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Boeing and Airbus reported upbeat year-end results recently, with both companies saying they delivered the most airliners ever in 2015 — a total of 762 for Boeing, and 635 for Airbus. "Global passenger traffic in most key regions is increasing," said Randy Tinseth, a Boeing VP for marketing. "Our customers continue to perform well in the marketplace." However, Boeing also said last week new orders for 2015 totaled 768, about half as many as 2014, when the company took in a record 1,432 orders. Airbus said on Tuesday it ended the year with 1,036 new orders in hand. Analysts have cited last year’s dive in oil prices as a factor in slowing orders for new airplanes — the low prices encouraged airlines to keep flying their old gas-guzzlers rather than upgrade to more efficient, but more expensive, new airplanes.

Despite the slowdown, there’s plenty of work to keep the doors open at both companies — at year’s end, Boeing had a backlog of 5,795 orders to fill, and Airbus reported a backlog of 6,787 aircraft. Airbus also said it plans to build up to 50 airplanes a year at its new facility in Mobile, Alabama, its first factory in the U.S., which opened in September. Boeing CEO Ray Conner said his team “did a fantastic job” last year getting airplanes built and delivered to customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. “This will continue to be our focus,” he said. He added that the company’s backlog “will help ensure a steady stream of deliveries for years to come.”