The aircraft manufacturing business has long been a duopoly between American giant Boeing and European conglomerate Airbus. Both invest heavily to attract new orders from airline startups and emerging national carriers from countries in the middle east. Boeing maintained its competitive advantage over the last 20 years, but Airbus slowly closed the gap and finally overtook Boeing in the last year.
Airbus supplied 483 more planes than Boeing in 2019. While this was in part due to Boeing having to ground its 737 MAX due to safety issues, Airbus has other factors in its favour. There is currently a 50:50 split in sales of narrow-body, single-aisle aeroplanes, i.e. the smaller planes favoured by low-cost and short-haul operators. These are the most widely used aircraft around the globe and bring in significantly more profit than the larger long-haul models. Airbus has developed more variants of narrow-body models, with increased capacity and lighter materials, making them more fuel efficient and better for the environment.
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