Boeing loses its crown of being the world's top aircraft supplier, brought on by the fiasco surrounding the bestselling 737 Max range. Image Credit: AFP

Chicago (Bloomberg): Boeing Co. lost its title as the world’s largest planemaker to Airbus SE, suffering the biggest defeat in the companies’ 45-year duel because of the grounding of the 737 Max. The US aerospace giant delivered just 380 jetliners last year, according to a company statement - that was less than half of Airbus’s tally of 863 planes.

Boeing’s epic trouncing underscored the depth of the Max crisis, after global regulators halted commercial flights and deliveries of the model in March after two crashes killed 346 people. Airbus’s victory was its first since 2011 and 10th since 1974, when the company’s A300 jetliner made its commercial debut.

Last year, Boeing shipped only 127 of its single-aisle 737 planes, lagging behind Airbus’s narrow-body total of 690 jets. But the Chicago-based company scored a win in twin-aisle jets, shipping 253 - 80 more than Airbus.

Some respite

But Boeing showed a strong December for deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner. The company handed over 21 Dreamliners during the final month, bringing its 2019 total to 158 - 13 more than in 2018. The carbon-composite jets have become a critical source of cash while the Max is grounded.

Orders for the Max, Boeing’s best-selling jet, have also suffered amid uncertainty over when regulators will finally clear the plane to resume flights. Boeing recorded a total of 54 jetliner sales, net of cancellations and conversions, compared with 768 for Toulouse, France-based Airbus.