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Boeing orders up but Airbus still leads

Seattle, January 6, 2012

Boeing lost the 2011 order race by a wide margin and lagged its archrival Airbus on deliveries for the ninth year in a row, figures showed on Thursday, but it pledged to fight back in 2012 with big sales of a revamped narrowbody.

At Boeing, a 3 per cent increase in deliveries from 2010 showed the resilience of overall aircraft production, in contrast with many other sectors of the economy. But it also confirmed difficulties in getting up to speed on the latest aircraft models, including the revolutionary carbon-composite 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing said on Thursday it delivered 477 commercial planes last year, up from 462 in 2010 and nearly in line with a company forecast of about 480 aircraft.

The US jet maker booked net orders for 805 planes, buoyed by the best-selling 737 narrowbody and its widebody 777, which set an annual order record for the company.

After taking longer to decide on a strategy for meeting demand for more fuel-efficient smaller jets, Boeing sank to the worst market share in the 40-year history of its rivalry with Airbus in 2011 but is expected to push the pendulum the other way with its competing 737 MAX in 2012. On average, the two aircraft manufacturers have a roughly equal share of the $100 billion annual passenger jet market.

In terms of gross orders, which are not adjusted for cancellations, Boeing had a 38 percent market share in 2011 with 921 compared with Airbus's end-November total of 1,521 orders.

Industry sources say the European firm is set to end the year with orders well above 1,600 once its final figures are released on Jan. 17.

Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing commercial airplanes, said Airbus logged "some significant orders early in 2011" but added the tide turned to Boeing's favor after the U.S. company announced plans for the MAX, a revamped 737 with new engines due to enter service in 2017.

"I think we took the momentum away in the latter part of the year, especially on the wide-body side and with the MAX," Tinseth added. "And I think this year is all going to be about the MAX." – Reuters




Tags: airbus | Boeing | Jet | Orders | 2011 | airplane |

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