A320neo and B737MAX market shares

Boeing had a press release yesterday announcing the first B737MAX is now in the final assembly. First flight is expected in early 2016. Bjorn Fehrm writes here about the timing of EIS of the new or reengined narrowbodies and regionals (he is not right on one thing though: the first flight of the A320neo was NOT late by 6 months).What becomes clear (well, as of now...) is that the B737MAX will enter Airline Service earlier than previously thought. This is also backed from Alaska Airlines, which expects the first B737MAX-8 now in late 2017 rather in early 2018.

There is always a lot of "discussion" between Airbus and Boeing about the market share of the A320neo vs. the B737MAX. Airbus maintains to argue that the A320neo has a market share of 60% where Boeing also consistently says that in the long run market shares will be
more or less equal.
I always thought that as long as the A320neo enters service it would be logical that the A320neo would have more orders than the B737MAX consistent with the numbers of more deliveries until both aircraft are in full production. By that both are (theoretically) able to compete in new campaigns with delivery slots in the same timeframe.
So let us assume that the B737MAX will have it's first delivery around 1.5 years after the A320neo. If we assume that both Airbus and Boeing ramp up the A320neo and the B737MAX at the same pace and that both manufacturers will produce at the same monthly rate (which is not exactly true, but a simplification for now), Airbus will have delivered 1.5 years of A320neo production more than Boeing. At a rate of 52 aircraft a month (the target rate for the B737MAX) this means a difference of 936 aircraft.

Now let's have a look at the difference in the backlog over time:

December 31, 2012: A320neo: 1764    B737MAX: 1064
December 31, 2013: A320neo: 2610    B737MAX: 1766
December 31, 2014: A320neo: 3621    B737MAX: 2657
September 16, 2015: A320neo: 4303   B737MAX: 2863

After the difference in orders moved below the 936 at the end of 2012, the first full year the B737MAX was available, the difference in firm orders continuously rose and was above 936 at the end of 2014. Now, due to the large orders from IndiGo (250 A/C) and Wizz (110 A/C) the difference is more than 1400 aircraft – and the 4303 ordered aircraft represent exactly 60% of the combined backlog of 7166. Well done, John (Leahy)!

So either we will see Airbus announcing another production rate increase soon or Boeing will not be able to fill all production slots.


  1. It would be interesting to know what the market share is today by knowing how many in operation 737 NG and A320ceo there are, is it 50/50 today? Then, by knowing that neo program is 1,5 years ahead of the max program, and by assuming equal ramp up and equal retirements of old aircraft, we can stipulate how fast we will reach that 60/40 market share. I recon it will take many years, maybe more then 10 years and a lot can happen in that timeframe.

  2. There was something lost in translation with Bjorn's article. He wasn't implying that the NEO was late by six months, merely that the time it took from wing join to first flight was six months. It wasn't the way I would use the word delay, but it probably wasn't completely incorrect either.

    1. The time between wing join and first flight of the B737MAX will be roughly the same...

  3. Could you plot the undisclosed orders separately?

    My guess is that the MAX sales "comparable to NEO numbers" interval in '13 and '14 was achieved by
    badgering customers to "fake orders" for Boeings books ?
    The recently announced large china order and its dilution by way of "coming out" for the "undisclosed".

    How many new orders remain after the bookkeeping has been adjusted?

    1. Uwe, I would not call the orders from Undisclosed Customers "fake orders". My guess is that most of them are indeed from chinese Airlines (as well as the undisclosed orders for the A32neo).
      All in all there are orders for 649 B737MAX from undisclosed customers:
      2012: 57
      2013: 164
      2014: 421
      2015: 7

      Numbers for the A320neo are:
      Total 272
      2012: 10
      2013: 20
      2014: 164
      2015: 78

    2. Afaics Boeing has intensely worked towards having equal sales numbers to Airbus .... for a time.
      For 2015 that kind of "surf" has run out. ( few sales in 2015 up to now )

      If you remove the Undiscloseds from each statistic ( and reinstate them at the point in time where they are officially assigned to a customer you'd get a more realistic picture for sales proportions.

    3. Boy, an airplane maker making up "fake orders" just to keep up?
      Next thing we know they will be "flying saucers" included in the "Undisclosed" order list. That way, they will be counted as three for one in value, though leaping ahead in the race by a wide margin.

    4. Well, on the manufacturing side something similar has already been set up.

      Boeing will not reduce 777 montly productiion.
      They will probably only produce 3..4 classic frames
      but the 777X frames will count as 4..6 times of a classic frame
      voila : pruduction rate is back at 9 or even better.