Delta Air Lines Airbus A330, with a KLM Boeing 747-400 in the background, in Amsterdam – Photo: David Parker Brown
At the start of last year, we looked at the results of the 2013 deliveries between Airbus and Boeing. With all the interest in that article, I couldn’t leave it alone for 2014, right? So let’s take a look at how the two big airliner companies did, in what is really the biggest aviation competition around?
2014 was a big year for both Boeing and Airbus. Last year we saw the first delivery of the A350XWB for Airbus, while Boeing also had delivery of the first 787-9 to Air New Zealand (followed closely by ANA).
On the narrowbody front, the A320NEO had its first flight (don’t those engines look like someone strapped giant engines onto the wing and went “it will work, trust me”) and the 737 MAX makes it one step closer to rolling out of the Renton factory. There were plenty of orders made to both airliners, but what we really want to know is, who produced and sold the most aircraft?
Boeing 787 Dreamliner number 3 (aka ZA003) at the Museum of Flight
Saturday, November 8th at the Museum of flight will forever be known as Dreamliner Day. This Seattle aviation museum is known for many examples of aircraft built in the Seattle area, such as the first 747, the prototype 737, and the only remaining Boeing 80A. But now the Museum has it’s own Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the first museum in the world to have such an aircraft.
Renton Municipal Airport, home of the Boeing 737
In the past, we have featured plane spotting guides for Paine Field and also other airports like Anchorage or Tokyo Haneda. With numerous airports in the Seattle area, including SeaTac and Boeing Field, there is sometimes a forgotten, but quite important, airport for plane spotters which provides a continuous stream of aircraft to spot. I am speaking of Renton Municipal Airport, the home of Boeing’s narrow-body aircraft plant.
The southern threshold of Renton’s runway
The Renton Airport traces its history back to World War II. Originally built on reclaimed land from Lake Washington, the airport was built by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support Amphibious Aircraft being built by Boeing on Lake Washington. The PBB Sea Ranger project was cancelled after the prototype was built, so Boeing ended up using the facility to produce the B-29 Superfortress. By the end of the war, a total of 1,119 were built.
After the war, the City of Renton purchased the airport back from the DoD for $1 and the facility laid dormant for a few years. In 1948, the KC-97 Stratofreighter project brought the airport back to life and thus began a long and productive history of aircraft to flow out of the Boeing factory doors. The first Dash 80 aircraft, famous for the barrel roll over Lake Washington, rolled out in May 1954. Renton was the home of every single 707 built.
The 727 & 757 were all built there as well. However, Renton is famous these days for being the home of the 737, where production stands at a massive 42 aircraft per month.
Two U.S. pilots stepping off the first 787-9 at Boeing Field – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
With the Emirates Milan saga, where US & Italian airlines are backing a play to force the Gulf carrier off the Fifth Freedom New York route, it led me to look into similar instances that have happened over the last few months that perhaps lead to a deeper situation.
It seems that US-based airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) are trying their hand at stopping outsider airlines from getting to the United States rather than just expanding themselves.
Let’s take a closer look.