While Boeing announced list prices for 2019 at the start of the year, Airbus has now indicated that it will no longer be providing list prices.
Airbus has acknowledged that the discrepancy between list prices and the actual prices paid by customers is so great as to render them irrelevant. There will no longer be any list prices published by Airbus. However, this creates a publicity issue for the media when seeking to examine the “value” of an order. While list prices may not be published, Airbus will likely still use them internally as a starting point for discussions with customers. The list prices can sometimes be used as the basis for deposits and even pre-delivery payments but usually these are based on the base price of the contract. List prices will still be used for buyer furnished equipment and specification change notifications.
Over the last 30 years the divergence between list prices and the net prices being paid by customers has continued to grow. In the late 1980s there was a reasonable correlation between the two but even then, customers ordering more than five aircraft will have received significant discounts. The increase in list prices has never been tied to market realities and instead has been a function of increases in material, labor and power costs along with changes in specification and for Airbus, currency fluctuations. This had meant that list prices have invariably increased year on year – although some years have seen no increases – whatever the state of the market. Despite significant advances in economies of scale for both Airbus and Boeing in terms of increasing the number of narrowbodies produced, which effectively reduces the unit cost of production, neither has reduced list prices. In 2019, Boeing increased its list prices for four percent compared to 2018.