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A big bag of Boeing 737 orders helped the Seattle plane maker retake the lead from Airbus in July. Image source: Boeing.

No news is supposed to be good news. But two weeks of no news? Seriously, guys.

For the second week in a row now, Boeing (NYSE: BA) has produced precisely bupkis-worth of new plane orders in its "order book" -- Boeing's weekly tally of new plane orders. That's two Thursdays in a row when all Boeing has told us is simply: "Changes since last update: No Change."

For an investor looking for reasons to buy Boeing stock, and for a writer looking for hot-off-the-presses Boeing news to report, Boeing's website has been a bit of a desert these past 14 days. But not to worry, folks. Even if Boeing isn't talking, Airbus (NASDAQOTH:EADSY) is.

All aboard Airbus?
As luck would have it, Boeing's latest report on new plane orders -- none -- coincided with Airbus' own monthly report of its progress in moving metal through the sky. And unlike Boeing, Airbus actually had something to report.

Specifically, Airbus reported that despite a slow sales month, it took in orders for 26 aircraft in July: 25 A321neo aircraft ordered by "an undisclosed customer," and also one single A330-300 bought by new customer Groupe Dubreuil. (Don't be embarrassed. I hadn't heard of it, either. But according to S&P Capital IQ, it's a small, privately owned French airline holding company.)

To date, this means that Airbus has received orders for a total of:

  • 349 single-aisle "A320 Family" jets (including a tiny A318 and two A319s)
  • 58 widebody A330s, which compete with Boeing's 767, 777, and 787
  • One single A350 widebody.

That's 408 gross plane orders recorded so far this year.

Airbus has also suffered 41 cancellations so far this year, however. Most of these were smaller, less valuable A320s and A321s. But the airplane maker also lost orders for seven A350s, pushing net orders for that model into negative territory for the year. Net of cancellations, Airbus now has accumulated 367 orders in 2015.

How does this compare to Boeing? Well, since this week's Boeing numbers are precisely the same as last week's (and the week before's), that's an easy question to answer. Boeing has accumulated orders for:

  • 271 single-aisle 737s
  • 54 widebody 777s
  • 50 Dreamliner 787s
  • 47 Boeing 767s
  • Four 747s.

In total, that's 426 gross orders for Boeing, versus Airbus's 408. Subtracting Boeing's (still only) 46 cancellations year to date, we end up with 380 net new orders for Boeing through early August 2015, versus 367 for Airbus.

The upshot for Boeing shareholders (and for Airbus, too)
Thanks to mongo orders for 767s from FedEx, and 737s from "unidentified customer(s)," Boeing overtook Airbus in the sales race last month. And the strangest fact of all is, it wasn't Boeing's order update that told us that.

It was Airbus'.

Rich Smith does not own shares of, nor is he short, any company named above. You can find him on Motley Fool CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 338 out of more than 75,000 rated members.

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