The introduction of wide-body planes
in the 1960s
ushered in a new era of air travel for aircraft makers,
airlines, and the masses. These mean machines are still the
blue-eyed boys of
, since they offer high margins. The battle for grabbing a bigger
slice of the wide-body market is always red-hot, and both jet
makers are forever engrossed in this fierce tussle. Airbus has
been a leader in the narrow-body segment and has been fighting
tooth and nail to match Boeing's dominance in wide-body. Let's
find out each one's score in this tug of war by peering through
the duo's top-selling wide-body aircraft in the past decade.
...from then till now
In the last decade, Boeing delivered around 1,100 wide-body
planes while Airbus has dispatched 1,035. Boeing's wide-body
models have included the iconic 747, the 767, the 777, and the
latest 787, while Airbus' offerings have been the now phased out
A300, A330, A340, and the A380 jumbo jet. The newly developed
A350 will enter service later this year. However, in the last 10
years, the two wide-body jets that have dominated the market are
the 777 and the A330.
Since the time the 777 entered service in 1995, the aircraft
has flown more than
18 million hours
. Boeing also takes pride in the fact that the 777 has a dispatch
reliability rate of 99.3%. Dispatch reliabitily refers to an
aircraft's performance on job, as in whether it flew according to
schedule, or if maintenance issues held it back. A rate above 99%
In addition to being Boeing's top-selling wide-body plane, the
777 is the company's
second best-selling model
since 2002. In the past decade, the company has delivered 692
777s, and 2013 was a record year, with 89 deliveries. Boeing
boosted the production rate in the latter half of 2012 from 7 to
8.3 a month.
Past 10 years 777 airplane deliveries. Chart by author.
Data source: Bloomberg.
Boeing may have pioneered wide-body aircraft with the
introduction of the 747 jumbo jet, but Airbus is no less
ambitious. For the Toulouse-based manufacturer, the A330 has been
the most successful long-haul plane in the past 10 years in terms
of its own delivery count. The A330 entered service in 1994.
Serving more than 100 airlines across the globe and offering one
of the lowest operating costs in this range, Airbus claims of one
of the best dispatch
reliability rates of 99.4%
The company has delivered 764 A330s in the past decade. Every
year, it managed to deliver more than the previous period,
barring 2011, when delivery matched its previous-year level at
87. In 2013, deliveries peaked at 108. The A330 currently has a
production rate of 10 a month.
Past 10 years A330 airplane deliveries. Chart by author.
Data source: Bloomberg.
New kids on the block
Both planes have evolved beautifully over the years, and now the
duo are busy recreating the 777 and A330 with newer engines to
serve airlines that demand more fuel-efficient planes.
Boeing launched the 777 successor, dubbed the 777X, at the
Dubai Airshow last year, where it was showered with a
record-breaking 259 orders and commitments. The plane will enter
service in 2020. Airbus unveiled the next generation of A330, the
A330neo, at the Farnborough Airshow in July this year. The
European aero major was in two minds, but after "solid trade
studies," it warmed up to the idea of reengineering the A330. The
jet is expected to enter service in 2017. At the event, Airbus
racked up 121 orders and commitment for A330neo, and it thinks
the aircraft has a potential market for 1,000 units or more.
A bright future
In spite of analysts' view that the broadening wide-body
portfolio could lead to oversupply, Airbus and Boeing feel the
segment has big prospects. Boeing estimates that there's a market
for 8,600 wide-body planes between 2014 and 2033 as airlines add
more international destinations and enter new markets. Around 62%
of the deliveries would cater to fresh demand, while the balance
of 38% would be for replacements. The jet maker expects the small
and medium wide-body aircraft to account for 7,980 deliveries.
Both the 777 and A330 fall in this category, and in this battle
of innovation, there could be plenty of opportunities for both
the aircraft families.
Boeing's estimate of 8,600 new wide-body demand between 2014
and 2033. Source:
(link opens a pdf).
Airbus' head of marketing, Chris Emerson, says that air
traffic is going to grow twice as much in the next 15 years,
pushing demand for bigger planes, most of which is expected to
come from Asia-Pacific airlines. Boeing shares a similar view and
sees Asia-Pacific and the Middle East ordering 60% of the new
The A330 and 777 are the torch bearers of Airbus' and Boeing's
wide-body journey, lighting their way to reach newer heights.
Boeing and Airbus have high hopes tied to these programs. With
rich aviation history, groundbreaking technology in the
reengineered versions, and solid future prospects, the A330 and
the 777 still have a long runway ahead.
Warren Buffett: This new technology is a "real threat"
At the recent Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Warren Buffett
admitted this emerging technology is threatening his
biggest cash-cow. While Buffett shakes in his
billionaire-boots, only a few investors are embracing this
new market which experts say
will be worth over $2 trillion
. Find out how you can cash in on this technology before the
crowd catches on, by jumping onto one company that could get
you the biggest piece of the action.
to access a FREE investor alert on the company we're
calling the "brains behind" the technology.
Can You Guess the 2 Best-Selling Wide-Body Planes
of the Last Decade?
originally appeared on Fool.com.
has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no
position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish
free for 30 days
. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe
considering a diverse range of insights
makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a
Copyright © 1995 - 2014 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights
reserved. The Motley Fool has a