Airbus Extends 2011 Lead Over Boeing in Jet Orders, Deliveries

Airbus Extends 2011 Lead Over Boeing in Jet Orders
An Airbus SAS A380 airliner is flown during a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show on June 22, 2011. Photographer: Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg

Airbus SAS has delivered more planes and taken more orders this year than U.S. rival Boeing Co., edging within reach of a record after introducing its upgraded single-aisle jet, the A320neo.

Airbus has won 1,038 net aircraft orders, after 141 cancellations during the first nine months, the Toulouse, France-based company said today in a statement. That includes 918 neos, which offer more fuel-efficient engines than the existing A320 family.

Airbus’s record tally for net new orders was in 2007, with contracts for 1,341. An order today from Qantas Airways Ltd. for 110 A320s, will be included in the October listing. Combined with the prospect of additional orders at the Dubai Air Show in November, that put Airbus in reach of topping its previous high.

Boeing has won 426 net orders this year, which are listed today on the Chicago-based planemaker’s website and exclude 105 canceled contracts. Cancellations are generally for planes ordered some years ago, though they are counted against the current-year order tally. The net orders are up from 392 in the same period of 2010.

For deliveries, Airbus has handed over 374 planes this year, including 296 single-aisle aircraft, 62 widebodies, and 16 A380s. Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., aims to deliver about 530 planes this year, including about 25 of its double-decker A380s. The next A380 delivery is to China Southern Airlines Co., set for next week.

Airbus Order Competition

Airbus has topped Boeing’s deliveries every year since 2003, and that trend continued in the first three quarters of this year.

Boeing handed over 349 aircraft through September, including 281 single-aisle 737s, 14 767s, 53 of its most-profitable 777s and its very first 787 Dreamliner, according to a statement today. The company forecasts deliveries of between 485 to 495 planes in 2011.

In the third quarter, deliveries rose to 127 from 124 a year earlier. Planemakers get about 40 percent of their payments from customers upon delivery.

While Airbus has booked 918 firm orders from 14 customers for its A320neo since offering the plane last December, Boeing hasn’t yet won any firm contracts for its new 737 MAX. The company has said it has 496 preliminary commitments from five customers.

Boeing announced in August that it planned to build the 737 variant, with new engines, and has been working to complete its configuration.

“We continue to work a number of details,” Marc Birtel, a Boeing spokesman, said yesterday. “These commitments will book once those details are finalized, but we are not able to speculate on when that will be.”

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