ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — For the first time since mid-2018, Boeing has surpassed Airbus in terms of quarterly jet deliveries, indicating that the US aircraft manufacturer's production is recovering after years of setbacks.

In the first quarter, Boeing delivered 130 planes, a 37% increase from the previous year, as it maintained a consistent production rate for its profitable 737 jetliners and cleared MAX and 787 Dreamliners from storage. In contrast, Airbus delivered 127 jets, marking a 9% decrease from the previous year, due to parts shortages.

Boeing shipped 64 aircraft in March, almost half of its total for the quarter, including 53 from its 737 family, and logged 60 new orders against 22 cancellations. Airbus delivered 61 aircraft in the same month, with its factories preparing to produce more jets monthly.

Boeing last outpaced Airbus in deliveries nearly five years ago when the European company faced engine shortages for its revenue-generating A320neo family. According to industry experts, this time, reduced handovers to Chinese airlines likely affected Airbus's performance.

Both manufacturers have had difficulty meeting the growing demand for fuel-efficient new aircraft following the Covid-19 pandemic, grappling with supply chain disruptions and their own shortcomings as they strive to accelerate production.

During the quarter, Boeing delivered a 767-300 freighter to FedEx Corp, 11 787 Dreamliners, and 113 jets from its 737 family, primarily MAX models. With its 737 factory near Seattle now producing 31 jets per month, Boeing intends to increase output by 23% by midyear.

Boeing executives are expected to provide more information on the production increase when the company announces its earnings later this month. Credit Suisse analyst Scott Deuschle increased Boeing's target price by $20 to $220, citing improved production and deliveries, as well as the likelihood of a significant number of new jet orders at the Paris Air Show in June.

Despite the lower delivery numbers, Airbus secured more jet sales in the first quarter, with 142 orders after cancellations. Boeing had 120 gross orders, resulting in 107 net sales after accounting for cancellations and provisions for at-risk deals.