Airbus Tops Boeing Sales for First Time

Inside of an Airbus airplane
The new A330neo introduces a new family of Airbus cabins.

After five decades as the best selling narrow-body commercial airliner in the world, the Boeing 737 yielded the title in October to the Airbus A320.

Mobile, Alabama is the U.S. location for assembly of A320s by Toulouse, France-based Airbus.

According to figures just released by the two air giants for the month of October, Airbus took orders for 15,193 of its A320s and Seattle-based Boeing reported 15,136 orders for its 737.

No one is proclaiming “The king is dead, long live the king!” The two companies will continue to operate as one of the world’s best examples of a duopoly — glad to have a worthy rival in the international game of supply and demand.

But bragging rights, for those counting, went to Airbus this month.

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The Airbus A320 was introduced 30 years ago as a rival to the 737. Both planes feature six-abreast seating. The 737 is a little wider in seating space, but the A320 is a little more fuel efficient and less noisy.

In recent years, Airbus introduced a new engine option version of the A320, dubbed the A320neo, which has been popular with a growing market segment of low-cost, start-up airlines. To catch up, Boeing rushed to introduce a competing product, the 737MAX.

Two crashes of the fledgling 737MAX in 2018 and early 2019 led to the grounding of the plane in the U.S., following many other countries. Boeing’s stock has taken a beating in the last six months. The company says the MAX will regain flying rights in January 2020.

The Airbus plant in Mobile, besides the A320 family of aircraft, also recently started assembling the new Airbus A220 line of aircraft.

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