Airbus has kicked off 2019 with 15 additional A220 orders from Delta Air Lines after recording a record year for commercial deliveries in 2018.
The European manufacturer’s 800 2018 deliveries were 11 percent higher than the previous year but failed to beat Boeing’s total of 806.
Its order book for the year ended up bigger than that of its US rival with 747 net orders compared to Boeing’s 675. However, the Airbus orders were down from 1109 in 2017.
Last year was the 16th in a row that Airbus increased deliveries and its backlog at the end of the year stood at a record 7,577 aircraft, boosted by 480 orders for A220s.
Airbus took control of the former Bombardier C Series in July and subsequently delivered 20 of the regional jets.
The majority of deliveries came from the A320 family and more than half of these were neos. Airbus delivered 626 A320 family aircraft, up from 558 in 2017. This included 386 A320neo family planes, up from 181 the previous year.
The A320 tally included the 100th delivery from the manufacturer’s final assembly line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama, which is now producing more than four units per month, as well as the 400th delivery from the FAL in Tianjin, China.
The manufacturer also delivered 49 A330s, including the first three A330neos, 95 A350s and 12 A380 superjumbos.
A330 and A380 deliveries were both down compared to 2017 but the A350 figure rose from 78 the previous year.
“Despite significant operational challenges, Airbus continued its production ramp-up and delivered a record number of aircraft in 2018. I salute our teams around the globe who worked until the end of the year to meet our commitments,” said Airbus Commercial Aircraft president Guillaume Faury,
“I am equally pleased about the healthy order intake as it shows the underlying strength of the commercial aircraft market and the trust our customers are placing in us. My gratitude goes out to all of them for their ongoing support
“As we look to further increase our industrial efficiency, we will continue making the digitalization of our business a key priority.”
Delta’s order of an additional 15 A220s brings its total order for the regional jet to 90.
The additional order is for the -300 model and means the carrier now has 50 of the bigger planes on order.
Airbus will produce the -300s at a new production facility in Mobile and Delta anticipates taking its first delivery of the type in 2020 with all 90 aircraft in its fleet by the end of 2023.
The A220-300s will be configured with 130 seats and offer First Class, Delta Comfort+ and main cabin options for customers.
“These additional A220 aircraft will continue to strategically enable Delta to refresh our fleet, drive further advances in the customer experience and serve as an excellent investment for our customers, employees and shareowners for Delta into the next decade,” Delta chief operating officer Gil West said in the announcement.