The Industry Today

The largest engine order intake since 2018.

By the end of September over 2,600 large civil jet engines had been ordered. It is the largest order intake for the Jan-September period since 2018 but back then there were fewer single-aisle engine orders and more than twice as many widebody engine orders. This time around the single-aisle engine order intake is the largest by the end of September since 2017 and the widebody engine order intake is the largest for the period since 2019 when the order intake was more than 300 engines larger.

Orders for single-aisle engines have been strong this year and have pushed up the single-aisle engine order book. That has increased by over 650 engines this year and by 922 in the last 12 months. Last November there were orders for 788 single-aisle engines and in July this year there were orders for 1,032. In those two months the single-aisle order book went up by 470 and 896 engines respectively. The decline which started with the onset of the pandemic is reversing but still has a very long way to go before it has recovered to pre-pandemic levels. The record for the number of single-aisle engines on firm order was set as recently as January 2020 when there were 23,622 on order. The current figure is over 1,300 lower and is back to roughly where it was two years ago. What is all too easy to forget is that after the single-aisle order book record was set, it dropped for 16 consecutive months. Whether it does ever return to pre-pandemic levels remains to be seen.

                CFM and Pratt & Whitney have seen a huge turn around in their order book figures over the last 12 months. CFM now has 518 more engines on order than at the end of September last year and P&W has 424 more single-aisle engines on order. CFM does have the largest share of the single-aisle engine order book with well over 10,000 more engines on the books than P&W. These two manufacturers are not reliant on future new aircraft orders to boost their order books either. There are 554 single-aisle aircraft on firm backlog order still without engine selections and 553 of those will have either the LEAP-1A or the PW1100G engines.

                Of course, orders and the order book are important but what really excites the industry are install numbers. The total of just over 1,300 single-aisle engine installs this year is the largest for the Jan-September period since 2018, before the MAX was grounded and before the pandemic. So far this year there have been 944 LEAP installs, 236 more than by the end of September last year, and 18 CFM56 installs which is 46 fewer than last year. There have also been 340 P&W GTF installs which is just four more than last year. 2020 had the lowest number of Jan-September single-aisle engine installs with just 624; over 1,000 fewer than by the end of September 2018 and less than half the number so far this year.

                Things are looking up in the single-aisle engine segment but things are really very different in the widebody engine segment. The firm order book now stands at 3,214, up 10 engines from the industry low at the end of August, but still 218 engines lower than at the start of this year, 220 lower than at the end of September last year and 454 lower than at the end of September 2020. Part of the problem here is that the order intake is not much larger than the number of cancellations So far this year there have been orders for 320 widebody engines and 280 have been cancelled. On top of this there have been 234 widebody engine installs.

There will not always be quite so many widebody engine cancellations but it might be a slow climb to get the widebody engine order book back to where it was two years ago.