Although the airline industry overall is an extremely competitive market, there is little competition among its suppliers of aircraft. In the large commercial aircraft market of the airline supply business, the major players are American-based Boeing (BA) and the Airbus Group, formerly known as the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS). 

The Key Players in Commercial Aircraft Manufacturing

Airbus and Boeing, the world's only major large passenger aircraft manufacturers, dominate the airline supply industry with their established brands, Boeing's 7-series and Airbus's A-series of jets. The two companies share almost exclusive control of the worldwide airplane supply business for large commercial jets, which include narrow-body aircraft, wide-body aircraft, and jumbo jets. But a few other companies are present, to a lesser degree, in other segments of the aerospace industry:

  • United Technologies Corporation and General Electric, for example, manufacture engines and parts for industry operators.
  • Bombardier, based in Canada, and Embraer, a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, are leaders in the regional and business airplanes market, focusing on smaller-sized jets.

On a global scale, competition with Boeing and Airbus is difficult. On the regional level, though, other companies are able to take advantage of a niche in commercial aviation, or at least attempt to do so.

  • In addition to the more established Bombardier and Embraer, newer airline suppliers include Comac in China, Mitsubishi in Japan and UAC in Russia. Comac and UAC are working on a series of new wide-body jets in a joint venture that they hope will eventually make them a legitimate competitor to the dominance of Airbus and Boeing in the large-jet space.

Boeing and Airbus also have a significant market share in supplying military aircraft – particularly to the United States – facing off against competitors such as Lockheed Martin and United Technologies. However, more than half of Boeing and three-quarters of Airbus revenues come from its commercial business segments.