Airbus Versus Boeing

According to Wikipedia, The competition between Airbus and Boeing has been characterised as a duopoly in the large jet airliner market since the 1990s. Which resulted to a series of mergers within the global aerospace industry, with Airbus beginning as a European consortium while the American Boeing absorbed its former arch-rival, McDonnell Douglas, in 1997. Other manufacturers, such as Lockheed Martin and Convair in the United States, and British Aerospace (now BAE Systems) and Fokker in Europe, were no longer able to compete and effectively withdrew from this market.

AIRBUS: Is an international reference in the aerospace sector. They design, manufacture and deliver industry-leading commercial aircraft, helicopters, military transports, satellites and launch vehicles, as well as providing data services, navigation, secure communications, urban mobility and other solutions for customers on a global scale.

Owned by European aerospace company(EADS), Airbus Headquarters is located in Leiden, Netherlands, Airbus was founded on 18th,  December 1970 in Blagnac, France. By  Franz Josef Strauss, Henri Ziegler, Felix Kracht, Bernard Lathière, Roger Béteille. presently managed by Guillaume Faury as the CEO.

BOEING: An American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, telecommunications equipment, and missiles worldwide. The company also provides leasing and product support services.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinnois, Unuted States, Airbus was founded by William Boeing in Seattle, Washington on July 15, 1916, presently managed by Dave Calhoun as the CEO.

In the 10 years from 2007 to 2016, Airbus received 9,985 orders while delivering 5,644, and Boeing received 8,978 orders while delivering 5,718. During their period of intense competition, both companies have regularly accused each other of receiving unfair state aid from their respective governments. In 2019, Airbus displaced Boeing as the largest aerospace company by revenue due to the Boeing 737 MAX groundings, with revenues of US$78.9 billion and US$76 billion respectively. Boeing recorded $2 billion operating losses down from $12 billion profits the previous year, while Airbus profits dropped from $6 billion to $1.5 billion.


Because many of the world’s airlines are wholly or partially government-owned, aircraft procurement decisions are often taken according to political criteria in addition to commercial ones. Boeing and Airbus seek to exploit this by subcontracting the production of aircraft components or assemblies to manufacturers in countries of strategic importance in order to gain a competitive advantage overall.

Boeing for example has maintained longstanding relationships since 1974 with Japanese suppliers including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries by which these companies have had increasing involvement on successive Boeing jet programs, a process which has helped Boeing achieve almost total dominance of the Japanese market for commercial jets. Outsourcing was extended on the 787 to the extent that Boeing’s own involvement was reduced to little more than project management, design, assembly, and test operation, outsourcing most of the actual manufacturing all around the world. Boeing has since stated that it “outsourced too much” and that future airplane projects will depend far more on its own engineering and production personnel.

Partly because of its origins as a consortium of European companies, Airbus has had fewer opportunities to outsource significant parts of its production beyond its own European plants. However, in 2009 Airbus opened an assembly plant in Tianjin, China for production of its A320 series airliners, and opened a similar assembly plant in Alabama, United States, in 2015.


Airbus sought to compete with the well-established Boeing in the 1970s through its introduction of advanced technology. Just like the A300 made the most extensive use of composite materials yet seen in an aircraft of that era, and by automating the flight engineer’s functions, was the first widebody jet to have a two-person flight crew. In the 1980s Airbus was the first to introduce digital fly-by-wire controls into an airliner (the A320).

With Airbus now an established competitor to Boeing, both companies use advanced technology to seek performance advantages in their products. Many of these improvements are about weight reduction and fuel efficiency. For example, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first large airliner to use 50% composites for its construction. The Airbus A350 XWB features 53% composites.

Engine choices

The competitive strength in the market of any airliner is considerably influenced by the choice of engine available. In general, airlines prefer to have a choice of at least two engines from the major manufacturers General Electric, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney. However, engine manufacturers prefer to be a single source and often succeed in striking commercial deals with Boeing and Airbus to achieve this.

In 2008, the competition was developing between two sides as Airbus selected the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB alone for the Airbus A350, while GE avoided a $1 billion development competing with its Boeing 777HGW exclusive GE90. In 2013, Boeing rejected a Rolls-Royce engine for the 777X to favor General Electric’s GE9X. In 2014, Rolls-Royce secured its exclusivity to power the A330neo with the Trent 7000.

Other aircraft providing a single engine offering include the Boeing 737 MAX (CFM LEAP) or the Airbus A220 (P&W GTF); while those with multiple sources include the Boeing 787 (GEnx/Trent 1000) or the Airbus A320neo (P&W GTF/CFM LEAP).

Currency and exchange rate

Boeing’s production costs are mostly in United States dollars, whereas Airbus’s production costs are mostly in euro. When the dollar appreciates against the euro the cost of producing a Boeing aircraft rises relatively to the cost of producing an Airbus aircraft, and conversely when the dollar falls relative to the euro it is an advantage for Boeing. There are also possible currency risks and benefits involved in the way aircraft are sold. Boeing typically prices its aircraft only in dollars, while Airbus, although pricing most aircraft sales in dollars, has been known to be more flexible and has priced some aircraft sales in Asia and the Middle East in multiple currencies. Depending on currency fluctuations between the acceptance of the order and the delivery of the aircraft this can result in an extra profit or extra expense—or, if Airbus has purchased insurance against such fluctuations, an additional cost regardless.

Safety and quality

Both aircraft manufacturers have good safety records on recently manufactured aircraft and generally, both firms have a positive reputation of delivering well-engineered and high-quality products. By convention, both companies tend to avoid safety comparisons when selling their aircraft to airlines or comparisons on product quality. Most aircraft dominating the companies’ current sales, the Boeing 737-NG and Airbus A320 families and both companies’ wide-body offerings, have good safety records. Older model aircraft such as the Boeing 707, Boeing 727, Boeing 737-100/-200, Boeing 747-100/SP/200/300, Airbus A300, and Airbus A310, which were respectively first flown during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, have had higher rates of fatal accidents.  According to Airbus’s John Leahy, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner battery problems will not cause customers to switch airplane suppliers. The grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX following two high-profile crashes is also unlikely to significantly benefit Airbus at least short-term, as both the 737 MAX and A320neo production lines have backlogs of several years and changing manufacturers requires significant crew training.

Aircraft prices

Airbus and Boeing publish list prices for their aircraft but the actual prices charged to airlines vary; they can be difficult to determine and tend to be much lower than the list prices. Both manufacturers are engaged in a price competition to defend their market share.

The actual transaction prices may be as much as 63% less than the list prices, as reported in 2012 in The Wall Street Journal, giving some examples from the Flight International subsidiary Ascend.

Orders and deliveries

It took Boeing 42 years and 1 month to deliver its 10,000th 7series aircraft (October 1958 – November 2000), and 42 years and 5 months for Airbus to achieve the same milestone (May 1974 – October 2016). Boeing deliveries considerably exceeded that of Airbus throughout the 1980s. In the 1990s, this lead narrowed significantly but Boeing remained ahead of Airbus. In the 2000s, Airbus assumed the lead in narrow-body aircraft. By 2010, little difference remained between Airbus and Boeing in both the wide-body or narrow-body categories or the range on offer.

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