Boeing 2021 jet shipments rose sharply thanks to the return of the 737 Max, but were still lagging behind Airbus.

FAA chief Steve Dixon flies a Boeing 737 MAX from Boeing Field on September 30, 2020 in Seattle, Washington.

Mike Siegel | Getty Images

Boeing’s new aircraft sales and deliveries surged last year as customers ignored the impact of the Covid pandemic on travel demand, but the manufacturer still ended 2021 behind its main rival Airbus.

Boeing delivered 340 planes to airlines and other buyers on Tuesday, up from 157 in 2020. The company rallied after the data was released and rose 3.2% to $ 216.02 by the end of the day.

The deliveries were mainly handled by the 737 Max, which regulators around the world have suspended for nearly two years after a fatal disaster in 2018 and another in 2019. Airbus said on Monday that it delivered 611 aircraft last year, an 8% increase over 2020.

The increase in deliveries is welcome news for Boeing, which has faced problems following plane crashes, a pandemic and operational problems that have put the 787 Dreamliner on hold for most of the past 14 months.

Chicago-based Boeing registered 909 gross aircraft orders, over 700 for Max, including at least 50 for low-cost carriers and Airbus Allegiant operators. Cargo aircraft sales were another highlight thanks to a surge in demand for e-commerce and air travel as Boeing added orders from UPS, Atlas Air and FedEx.

This exceeded Airbus’ 771 gross commercial orders in 2021. Including cancellations, Boeing’s net orders were 479, but they rose to 535, including accounting adjustments that add or subtract sales based on the airline’s financial health or other factors.

Boeing is slated to report fourth quarter and year results before the market opens on January 26.

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