SSJ for Interjet by SuperJet International. CC BY-SA 2.0

As of December 2017, IATA forecasted that the total global passenger traffic would exceed four billion people in 2017 and 4.3 billion in 2018. The growing demand for air travel that characterized 2017 prompted airlines to add 1,351 city connections and 1,683 new aircraft (jet and turboprop) to the global commercial fleet while increasing use of their existing fleet. The association expects airlines to increase their capacity by about 5.7 percent.

While PwC expected commercial aircraft OEMs to grow moderately during 2017, a growth in demand for air travel has prompted airlines to place more aircraft orders. The need to deliver aircraft has prompted Airbus and Boeing – the two largest aircraft manufacturers – to boost their output in this segment.

Just like every previous year for the past two decades, 4Q17 was the final stretch in the race for highest orders and deliveries between Airbus and Boeing. Results were similar to those of 2016. On one hand, Boeing is the annual deliveries champion again with an output of 763 aircraft, a 14.2 percent growth over 2016’s 748. On the other hand, Airbus has both the highest annual net orders and backlog after receiving 1,109 orders for new aircraft compared to 731 in 2016, which amounts to a growth of 51.2 percent.

Smaller aircraft manufacturers Bombardier and Embraer, as well as rising Russian contender Sukhoi continue to try to tap into global demand. Bombardier’s most ordered and delivered aircraft were members of the turboprop Q-series family. The Canadian company faced several issues during 3Q17 that undermined its ability to deliver as many C Series aircraft as originally planned. For instance, Bombardier reduced its C Series delivery expectations on account of delays from engine supplier Pratt & Whitney. Moreover, the US Commerce Department announced an imposition of about 300 percent to C Series aircraft due to a complaint that Bombardier’s aircraft production was heavily subsidized by Canada, which triggered a trade dispute.

E175 for AA by Cory W. Watts. CC BY-SA 2.0

Meanwhile, Embraer is at a crossroads. Boeing has expressed a desire to merge with the Brazilian manufacturer and there are concerns from Brazil’s government and military over losing decision power on Brazilian defense programs. Embraer’s annual net orders for commercial aircraft almost doubled in 2017 with a reported 91.1 percent growth (41 new aircraft ordered) but its output fell by 6.5 percent.

The Russian airliner company Sukhoi managed to double the annual deliveries of its flagship SSJ100 during 2017 to 34 aircraft. But as the year ended, Mexican airline Interjet grounded 11 SSJ100s due to potential anomalies in the jets’ tail section. Sukhoi is part of United Aircraft Corporation, which was created by the Russian government to revitalize the country’s aerospace industry. Aside from Sukhoi, UAC also includes the Tupolev, Ilyushin, Mikoyan and Irkut aircraft manufacturers.

Orders and Deliveries of planemakers during 2017

OEM

Annual Net Orders Most ordered commercial aircraft in 2017 Annual Deliveries Most delivered commercial aircraft in 2017 Overall backlog (Dec. 2017)

2016

2017

Growth rate (%) 2016 2017

Growth rate (%)

Boeing

668 912 36.5 Boeing 737 748 763 14.2 Boeing 737 5,864
Airbus 731 1,109 51.2 A320 Family 688 718 4.4 A320 Family

7,265

Embraer

45 86 91.1 E175 108 101 -6.5 E175 435

Bombardier

152[1] 48[2] Q Series 63[1] 51[2] Q Series

433[2]

Sukhoi 17 34 100 SSJ100

[1] January-September 2016

[2] January-September 2017 (latest available data)

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