Boeing Commercial Airplanes delivered the first of a total 71 Dreamliner aircraft ordered by United Arab Emirates’ Etihad Airways as 2014 came to a close, marking the first of Boeing’s new wide-body aircraft in service in the Middle East. According to one published report, the delivery may have pushed the total number of Dreamliner deliveries to 111 for the year just passed – beating the OEM’s forecast total of 110.
According to Boeing’s published records, through November 30 it delivered 96 Dreamliners.
More important, Boeing appears to have bested rival Airbus SAS in jet deliveries and total orders for 2014, though the two manufacturers have not released their final figures. Boeing’s published tally shows it delivered 647 aircraft through November, while Airbus delivered 554 over the same 11-month period.
Of its other major aircraft series, Boeing delivered 440 of its 737 jets; 90 of the 777 jets; 16 747s; and five 767s.
In terms of new orders, Boeing reports it had “net” orders for 1,317 new jets through December 16, while Airbus reports net orders for 1,031 jets through November. Not unusually, both jet builders have also recorded a number order cancellations: 106 for Boeing, 297 for Airbus.
The vast majority of Boeing’s new orders during 2014 were for its 737 aircraft, 1,019 net orders for the year; 269 orders were received for the 777 aircraft; 25 for the 787; and four new orders for the 767.
The twin-engine, narrow-body aircraft series (Boeing’s 737, Airbus’ A320) continue to represent a much larger portion of both manufacturers’ businesses, and their records are nearly even in that category. Boeing delivered 440 narrow-body jets in 2014, and Airbus delivered 436.
Still, the 2014 success of the higher-priced 787 Dreamliner aircraft will be counted as significant for Chicago-based Boeing, which endured some high-profile frustrations in the series’ design and development effort, though commercial acceptance has been comparatively smooth.
The 787 Dreamliner is Boeing’s standard for wide-body twin-engine aircraft, with long range and carrying capacity for 210 to 330 passengers. Boeing also claims it is its most fuel-efficient commercial jet, with a structure based on a large volume of composite materials helping to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20% versus similar-size jets. A more advanced aerodynamic design than previous jets, more-electric systems, and modern engines add to the 787’s appeal to airlines.
There are three design variants of the Dreamliner, currently: the 787-8 (debuted in 2011), 787-9 (debuted in 2013), and 787-10 (targeted for a 2017 debut.)
The wide-body advantage may begin to shift to Airbus in 2015, as deliveries start this month for its A350 jets, joining its A330 and A380 models.