Aircraft Orders – Did Airbus Break Some Records In 2023?

By Spyros Georgilidakis | January 1, 2024

2023 is behind us and many in the industry are eagerly waiting to learn if Airbus broke a couple of all-time records for aircraft orders.

Aviation is a cyclical business. Demand for aircraft (and pilots, crews, etc) from the airlines ebbed and flowed over time, well before the pandemic. As it happens, we are now at a high watermark, with many airlines expanding AND replacing older 737NGs and A320ceos.

Photo: Dave from Airport Operations, CC BY-SA 4.0

In terms of deliveries, the target for Airbus last year was 720 jets. The European manufacturer should be very close to that number, the numbers up to December showed. But it is in the orders department that Airbus did really well in 2023.

We saw that Airbus did incredibly well last summer, announcing a record aircraft order from IndiGo, for 500 aircraft. That was after Airbus got the lion’s share of an Air India order for 470 aircraft.

Aircraft Orders – Did Airbus Break Some Records In 2023?
Image: Airbus

Later in 2023, we saw that Airbus did somewhat less well, but still secured substantial late-year orders. The European manufacturer’s plans for the Dubai Airshow didn’t go to plan. A Turkish Airlines order that should have been announced there finally came through in December, involving 220 jets.

This was after other large December orders, from easyJet and Lufthansa, that added another 162 aircraft to the total. As of the end of October 2023, Airbus had orders for 1,399 aircraft. This doesn’t include those mentioned above.

Image: Airbus

Airbus 2023 Orders and Goals

So, what’s the target? Well, there are two of them and both date from 2014. In terms of Gross orders, Airbus needs to get to 1,800 to make 2023 a record year. In terms of Net orders, the target is 1,500 orders.

“Net orders” are gross orders minus cancelations and conversions from one aircraft type to another. For example, easyJet’s December order for a total of 157 jets included conversions of 35 orders from A320neos to A321neos.

Image: Airbus

Airbus will announce its final 2023 numbers of orders and deliveries on the 11th of January. These record orders have implications for the monthly production targets that the European manufacturer will set, particularly for its single-aisle jets.

Some supply-chain issues affecting both Airbus and Boeing may have been easing gradually. But issues (and lengthy checks) involving Pratt & Whitney GTF engines have strained the supply chain further, affecting deliveries of new Airbus single-aisle jets. CFM LEAP engines have had their own teething issues, too.

Aircraft Orders – Did Airbus Break Some Records In 2023?
Photo: Air France

High demand for aircraft plus long delivery slots pose new challenges for the airlines. They essentially need to “guesstimate” aircraft demand 7-8 years, maybe a decade down the line – because that’s when many Airbus jets in those 2023 orders will finally enter service.

This is why Airbus is pushing its suppliers for higher production outputs. If delivery slots get longer, Airbus could lose some (or some more) customers to Boeing, if they simply can’t wait as long.


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