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Airbus Sees Larger-Plane Order Growth in Efficiency Drive

Airbus SAS, the world’s second-biggest maker of commercial planes, expects larger aircraft to gain in popularity among carriers seeking more capacity on existing routes while striving for reduced spending per seat.

“Generally there’s been an upscaling in the aircraft people are buying,” Andrew Gordon, director for strategic marketing and analysis, said in an interview in Helsinki today. “It’s driven by existing routes getting bigger as well as airlines lowering their seat costs. Certainly it’s a trend and something we factor in our forecasts as well.”

The manufacturer expects new passenger-aircraft deliveries in the Nordic countries to amount to 536 planes with a market value of $56.8 billion by 2031, Gordon said today in a presentation in the Finnish capital. Traffic to and from the country will increase by 3.7 percent annually.

Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, delivered a record 588 planes in 2012. Chicago-based competitor Boeing Co. handed over 601 airliners to customers, taking the delivery title from its European competitor for the first time since 2003. Norwegian Air Shuttle AS, the Nordic region’s biggest carrier by market value, ordered 222 Boeing and Airbus airliners in January 2012, including the U.S. company’s twin-aisle 787 Dreamliner, which is currently grounded amid a probe of its electrical systems.

Finnair Oyj, the Finnish carrier which last year posted its first profit since 2007, considers its investment in 11 extra-wide Airbus A350 XWB planes “vital” for a competitive future in long-haul traffic, Chief Executive Officer Mika Vehvilaeinen said on Feb. 8. Finnair is building up Helsinki as a hub for travel from Europe to China, Japan and South Korea.

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