World General Aviation Aircraft Shipments Up 3% in First Quarter 2018

U.S. Manufacturers Deliver 315 Aircraft in First Quarter – Up Four Units from Q1 2017

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

Minnesota-based Cirrus Aircraft had a strong first quarter and delivered 74 of its smaller but very popular piston-engine aircraft, up 29 percent from 57 in Q1 2017. Shipments of the SR20 boasted the largest increase and more than doubled in Q1 2018. Photo Courtesy of Cirrus Design Corporation

According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), in the first quarter of 2018, manufacturers reported both higher deliveries and higher revenues than in the same quarter in 2017. Fixed-wing general aviation aircraft manufacturers delivered 447 aircraft worldwide in Q1 2018, up 2.8 percent from 435 in Q1 2017. Revenues increased 3.3 percent to $3.8 billion, mainly due to higher revenues reported by Bombardier, Textron, and several smaller manufacturers. Continue reading

Merkel’s Comments Bring Germany’s Defense Budget Clash Under the Microscope

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Following the move by U.S. President Donald Trump on May 8 to declare that the United States would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran nuclear deal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated – for the second time in a year – that Europe can no longer count on the United States for its protection.  Continue reading

Airbus and Boeing Report April 2018 Commercial Aircraft Orders and Deliveries

Deliveries slow as Boeing secures major American Airlines Dreamliner order

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

On April 10, 2018, American Airlines placed an order for 47 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, including options for 28 additional aircraft. At the same time, American Airlines canceled an old US Airways order for 22 Airbus A350-900s. (Boeing illustration) (PRNewsfoto/Boeing)

Boeing and Airbus delivered 44 and 51 commercial jets in April 2018, respectively, compared to 52 and 46 deliveries during the same month last year. April is traditionally a slow month for deliveries. In 2017, Boeing delivered 763 jets (748 in 2016), in line with company expectations, while Airbus surpassed its delivery target of 700 jets by handing over 718 aircraft during 2017 (688 in 2016).

In April 2018, Boeing delivered 34 737s (of which 10 were 737 MAXs), well below the current monthly rate of 47 jets. The company also delivered one 767, one 777, and eight 787s. Boeing raised its 737 production rate to 47 per month in Q3 2017 from 42 previously and will increase it further to 52 during 2018. Boeing plans a further increase to 57 737s per month next year. Boeing delivered 228 aircraft in the first four months of the year and is seven jets ahead of last year’s delivery figures. In April 2018, Airbus delivered 36 A320s (19 ceo / 17 neo), four A330s, eight A350s, and three A380s. Airbus delivered 172 aircraft in the first four months of the year and is trailing last year’s delivery figures by 10 jets.

Airbus continues to struggle with late deliveries of engines from Pratt & Whitney and CFM International for the A320neo family of aircraft. Despite the difficulties, Airbus confirmed its full-year outlook when it reported first quarter 2018 financial results in April. Airbus’ CEO, Tom Enders, stated that dozens of A320neo aircraft are sitting on the tarmac in Toulouse and Hamburg awaiting their engines. A total of 181 A320neo family aircraft were delivered in 2017 vs. Airbus’ forecast of 200, up from 68 during 2016. By mid-2019, Airbus expects to be delivering 60 A320 jets per month. In December 2017, former Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier even indicated that there is enough demand for Airbus to be producing as many as 70 A320 jets per month. The company has internally been debating rates beyond 60 for some time now. Airbus plans to deliver up to 120 A350s (all variants) in 2018, when the production rate will hit 10 per month. Airbus is considering a further increase to 13 A350s per month in 2019. On February 20, 2018, Airbus delivered the world’s first A350-1000 widebody airliner to launch customer Qatar Airways. Furthermore, on February 28, Airbus rolled out the first A350-900 Ultra Long Range variant. The ramp up of A350 XWB deliveries combined with a higher A320 production rate means that the company is narrowing Boeing’s deliveries lead and could surpass its top rival by 2019 or 2020.

In April 2018, Boeing announced that it plans to increase its 767 production rate from 2.5 jets per month to 3 jets per month beginning in 2020. This is due to strong air cargo growth, which has increased demand for Boeing’s 767-300F variant.

In April 2018, Boeing logged 78 gross orders (minus 31 cancellations => net of 47). Boeing’s April bookings included an order for 30 737 MAX jets for Russia’s UTair Aviation as well as two large 787 Dreamliner orders, including orders for 25 787-9 jets for American Airlines and 22 787-8 jets for Boeing Capital Corporation (BCC), which is Boeing’s leasing business. The 22 BCC 787-8 jets are earmarked for American Airlines. On April 6, American Airlines announced it had canceled an old US Airways order for 22 Airbus A350-900 jets and instead ordered 47 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Airbus’ April bookings totaled 68 gross orders (minus 27 cancellations => net of 41). Airbus booked two orders from Scandinavian Airlines (SAS): one for 35 A320neos and another for a single A330-300. SAS also plans to lease 15 additional A320neos. Airbus also booked a rare order for its smallest narrowbody variant, the A319, when, on April 20, an undisclosed customer ordered 22 A319neos and five A319ceos. Despite being well behind Boeing in this year’s orders race, Airbus has retained an order lead over its rival every year since 2012. In 2017, just as Boeing looked set to win the orders race, Airbus finished the year on a very high note and reported a full- year intake of 1,109 net new orders, ahead of Boeing’s 912.

Airbus’ order backlog as of April 30 stands at 7,179 jets (of which 6,109, or 85%, are A320ceo/neo family narrowbodies), ahead of Boeing’s backlog of 5,904 aircraft (of which 4,673, or 79%, are 737 NG/MAX narrowbody jets). Boeing’s backlog set a new all-time high in April, surpassing the previous record of 5,901 jets set last month. Airbus is 85 jets below its all-time record backlog of 7,265 set in December 2017. The number of Airbus aircraft to be built and delivered represents a 10-year backlog at the 2017 production level. In comparison, Boeing’s backlog would “only” last 7.7 years. Airbus booked 1,109 net new orders in 2017, resulting in a book-to-bill ratio of 1.54. Boeing booked 912 net new orders in 2017, for a book-to-bill ratio of 1.20. In 2018 to date, Boeing boasts a book-to-bill ratio of 1.18 (1.20 in March), with Airbus at 0.50 (0.37 in March).

2018 Forecast

Forecast International’s Platinum Forecast System® is a breakthrough in forecasting technology. Among many other features, Platinum provides 15-year production forecasts. The author has used the Platinum Forecast System to retrieve the latest delivery forecasts.  For 2018, Forecast International’s analysts expect Boeing and Airbus to deliver 801 and 775 large commercial jets, respectively. These are the latest “live” forecast figures (adjusted frequently by FI analysts as new information comes in). These figures exclude militarized variants of commercial platforms such as Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon, KC-46 Tanker and C-40 Clipper and Airbus’ A330 MRTT tanker program.

In late January 2018, Boeing reported that it expects to deliver 810-815 commercial aircraft during 2018 (including militarized variants of commercial jets). On February 15, 2018, Airbus announced that it expects to deliver around 800 commercial jets this year (including militarized variants of commercial jets), but at the same time emphasized that it depends on engine manufacturers meeting commitments.

Please feel free to use this content with Forecast International and analyst attributions, along with a link to the article. Contact Ray Peterson at +1 (203) 426-0800 or via email at for additional analysis.

The Forecast International Civil Aircraft service covers all facets of the fixed-wing commercial and private aviation industry. It includes more than 70 detailed reports, complete with production forecasts on individual civil aircraft families. Four Market Segment Analyses provide in-depth examination of the markets for Large Commercial Jet Transports, Regional Aircraft, Business Jets, and General Aviation/Utility Aircraft. Included in the reports are production forecasts, a Forecast Rationale detailing the basis for the forecast, the aircraft’s price range and technical specifications, a program history, and recent developments.Forecast FI Logo



Funding Stream Doubles for U.S. Navy Tactical Data Links Program

by Greg Giaquinto, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

BAE Systems will provide new technology called the Network Tactical Common Data Link System, which will allow the U.S. Navy to share large quantities of critical ISR data across platforms and networks. (Photo: BAE Systems)

The U.S. Navy’s need to exchange information rapidly is fueling an $800 million funding stream for tactical datalinks over the next 10 years (2018-2027).  This projection from Forecast International is nearly double the amount it forecast for the decade 2017-2026, in part the result of the Tactical Data Link program’s new Network Tactical Common Data Link project. Continue reading

Yahsat to Acquire Thuraya, Making Satellite Investment More Likely

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Yahsat Ground Station or Teleport. Source – Yahsat


Yahsat has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Thuraya. Both companies are based in the United Arab Emirates. Yahsat primarily provides fixed satellite services (FSS), while Thuraya chiefly provides mobile satellite services (MSS). Continue reading

Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee Cranks Up Pressure on USAF over JSTARS Recap

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Recapitalization (JSTARS Recap) program underway.

Can the U.S. Congress force the Air Force into reinstating the JSTARS Recapitalization program? According to the HASC’s Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee’s markup of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Bill, there is a good possibility that it can. Continue reading

Latest Report Reaffirms Germany’s Lack of Military Readiness

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Eurofighter Typhoon

Typhoon Fitted with Brimstone
Source: Eurofighter GmbH

For a country seeking to address its operational readiness issues and enhance the service availability of existing hardware, Germany faces a high hurdle in the airpower domain. Continue reading

Broadening the Appeal of a Sophisticated Missile Decoy

by Andrew Dardine, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

BriteCloud decoy system. Image: Leonardo

The still-evolving, Leonardo-produced BriteCloud expendable active decoy (EAD), missile countermeasures system is on the verge of significant fighter jet application in the years ahead.  The system consists of a self-contained digital RF memory (DRFM) jammer designed to disrupt incoming missiles’ RF tracking systems. Continue reading

India Shelves FGFA Project – Where to Now?

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA)

After years of stalled negotiations with Russia, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is pulling the plug on an 11-year collaborative effort to develop and produce a fifth-generation fighter that would be used by both countries. The IAF opted to walk away from the project due to lingering differences over developmental costs, technology capabilities, and other points of contention – particularly what it feels is a lack of sufficient stealth for a fifth-generation aircraft. Continue reading

German MoD Provides Updates on the Eurofighter Typhoon’s Captor-E AESA Radar

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

ECR-90C Captor-E AESA Radar being fitted to a Eurofighter Typhoon.  Source: Eurofighter

In its recent report dated March 19, the German Ministry of Defense, as part of its assessment of the Eurofighter Typhoon program, provided some updates on the status of the fighter jet’s Captor-E AESA radar and the development of the radar’s multichannel receiver. Continue reading