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Boeing Falls Further Behind Airbus in Plane Deliveries

Boeing Co. has fallen further behind in its five-decade rivalry with Airbus SE in the global plane-making business.

Airbus easily retained its No. 1 spot in 2020 as Boeing on Tuesday reported a big decline in orders and deliveries. It handed over just 84 passenger jets to airline customers, down almost 90% from a peak in 2018. Buyers pay most of the purchase price on delivery, so Boeing has been short of cash, forcing it to raise debt and cut costs.

Both plane makers have been dented by the pandemic-driven slump in air travel. With vaccines raising hopes for a recovery, Airbus said it is preparing to increase production after slowing output last year.

Boeing, in contrast, has become more reliant on sales of cargo and military jets to ease the strain on its finances caused by the prolonged grounding of the 737 MAX and manufacturing problems that have halted deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner.

The plane maker handed over 157 jets last year, including cargo and military planes, trailing the 566 deliveries at Airbus.

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