Airbus vs Boeing: The history in short
Today there are only two main competitors when talking about large jet airliners. Airbus and Boeing are both large consortia which manufacture most of the big planes used for air transport. However a few years back, the situation was different.
A look into the history
It all started in the early 1990s. The fall of the Soviet Union has put it's numerous aircraft manufacturers into disadvantaged position. Few people today know brands such as Antonov, Tupolev or Ilyushin. In fact they still exist and produce rather small numbers of aircraft. Changes in the airline industry continued during the years past the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Large manufacturers in Europe and the US have left the market after disappointing sale numbers. They were Lockheed or Fokker to mention some of them. As a result, the current situation can be called a duopoly with only Boeing and Airbus left on the big market.
A company which history dates back almost 100 years. Founded in Seattle, Washington by William e. Boeing in 1916 manufacturing seaplanes. Twenty years later, a revolutionary plane was introduced. The Boeing 247 is considered to be the first modern airliner. Boeing operated the planes for commercial purposes. The US government forbid that in 1934 resulting in the formation of United Airlines. During the World War II Boeing focused on military aircraft, the famous B-17 and B-29 were formed. The 7×7 series of aircraft were first introduced in 1958 and remained the main production line until today.
Airbus is a consortium founded to compete with the American aircraft manufacturers. It's origins date to late the 1960s from a government initiative between France, Germany and the UK. Firms from each country delivered individual items ready to fly. The first aircraft available under the Airbus brand was the A300. It wasn't very successful at that time but the order numbers were slowly picking up with it's modernized versions. The current flagship, A380, was born in 2005 after a long development phase and is the largest commercial airliner available. The first plane was handed over to Singapore Airlines on October 15, 2007 and it first flew from Singapore to Sydney.
Orders and deliveries
Both companies show off the numbers of aircraft ordered and delivered on their websites. If we have a look at the past ten years, it is clear that the competition is very tight. The most orders were received by both companies in 2007. It was 1 341 with Airbus and 1 413 with Boeing. The contrast in 2009 is obvious, Boeing received 142 orders and Airbus 271. During the past years, Airbus is the winner in number of aircraft delivered. The numbers are constantly rising with almost 500 delivered in 2009, however Boeing is not far behind.
Jiří Parimucha, Nov 3, 2010
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