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Airbus Beats 1,000-Order Goal Even as Lufthansa Trims A380 Deal

Airbus Beats 1,000-Order Goal Even as Lufthansa Trims A380 Deal
An employee works on an Airbus A380 wing part on the assembly production line at the Airbus SAS factory in Broughton, U.K.. Photographer: Paul Thomas/Bloomberg

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Airbus SAS surpassed its 1,000-order annual sales target with three months to spare, even as Deutsche Lufthansa AG scrapped contracts for three A380 superjumbos.

The world’s second-largest planemaker won 1,112 orders in the first nine months before cancellations after securing deals for 170 planes in September alone, it said today on its website. Rival Boeing Co. said Oct. 3 it had booked 1,023 gross orders.

The two companies have mined a rich vein of bookings for long-range jetliners and smaller narrow-body planes as carriers modernize fleets to cut fuel burn. The Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8, a modern version of the jumbo, have been selling more slowly, and Lufthansa said today it would limit its superjumbo fleet to 14 planes, of which 10 have already been delivered.

“The cancellations result from our conservative growth and fleet plans,” Helmut Tolksdorf, a spokesman for Europe’s second-biggest airline, said following publication of the Airbus figures. Lufthansa told investors earlier today that its fleet won’t grow beyond 400 planes through 2016, with previous capacity plans having called for as many as 480 aircraft.

Airbus had set a goal of at least 1,000 jet orders for the year in July after initially targeting 700 deals. Tom Enders, chief executive officer of parent company European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., said Sept. 30 on Bloomberg Television that the total would be “way over” that number.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus has exceeded 1,000 orders only four times in its history, setting a record total in 2011, when it secured 1,608 gross sales.

A350 Boost

Factoring in 50 cancellations, Airbus had 1,062 net aircraft orders in the nine months. Chicago-based Boeing had lost 133 deals for an adjusted figure of 890.

Airbus’s order tally was crimped by 10 cancellations in September, including the Lufthansa planes. The Cologne, Germany-based carrier also ordered 25 A350-900 wide-bodies with a list price of $7.2 billion, versus $1.2 billion for the three A380s.

Boeing looks set to retain the title of No. 1 planemaker, having handed over 476 jets through September, compared with 445 deliveries at Airbus. Monthly production rates suggest the U.S. company will remain ahead by that criteria.

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Wall in London at rwall6@bloomberg.net; Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at rweiss5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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