They count planes differently, don't they?
THE PARIS AIR SHOW BLOG, 20 June 2013. I've been covering the aerospace and defense industry for a long time, yet still there are plenty of things that utterly mystify me. The way the major aerospace manufacturers count airplane sales is one of them.
I've spent a good chunk of time this week doing my best to track aircraft sales announced at the Paris Air Show from the big players like Airbus and Boeing, from the up-and-coming companies like Embraer, to the niche players like Bombardier and ATR, and even from the helicopter makers like AgustaWestland, Sikorsky, and Eurocopter.
Despite my best efforts, however, some of the numbers just don't agree with published reports.
Here's an example: by my count Airbus announced deals for 536 passenger jetliners this week at Paris. A company announcement, however, says Airbus only made deals for 466. I counted announcements for 275 aircraft sales from Boeing this week, yet a Boeing announcement says the company made deals for 442.
I can't figure out where these numbers come from, but then again, I've been covering the Pentagon's annual budget (or trying to) for decades now, and some of those numbers I couldn't explain if my life depended on it.
I think it's much the same with airplane sales.
Companies use different terms for different transactions. There are firm orders, memoranda of understanding, commitments, conversions, and other descriptions of firm, pending, or wishful orders.
I looked through the public announcements, totaled up all the numbers no matter what the transaction being described, and came up with my numbers.
For the four business days just concluded at the Paris Air Show, I have 536 aircraft sales for Airbus, 381 for Embraer, 275 for Boeing, 115 for ATR, 72 for Bombardier, 54 for AgustaWestland, 17 for Sikorsky, and 10 for Eurocopter, which gives us a rough count of 1,460 total sales for the week.
These numbers could be close, or they could be off. I can make no promises for how my numbers jive with the industry. As for Boeing, company officials say the Seattle-based jet maker inked deals for 442 aircraft worth about $66.4 billion during the Paris Air Show. This is a lot more than my total of 275. Airbus, meanwhile, claims to have made deals for 466 airplanes at the show. This is far fewer than my count of 536.
I haven't seen any official totals from the show yet, but let's face it, the official numbers most likely will be different from mine.