Le Bourget, Paris: With the 47th edition of the Paris Air Show coming to an end, Airbus SAS, the world's largest maker of commercial aircraft, announced firm orders for 425 of its aircraft, valued at $61.7 billion, and regained some lost ground from arch US rival Boeing Co.
On the last day of the show, the Toulouse-based European planemaker wrapped up the proceedings with a $3.7 billion contract from Singapore Airlines Ltd. for 20 A350 XWB long-range aircraft, its competitor for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus had lost a five-year lead in orders over Chicago-based Boeing in 2006 as manufacturing setbacks over the A380 and redesign problems with the A350 had left it with no answer to Boeing's runaway success - the 787 Dreamliner.
There was also some immediate good news for parent company EADS, as shares for the company rose as much as 48 cents, or 2 per cent, to 24.24 euros in Paris. The stock has fallen 7.5 per cent this year, compared with an 8.6 per cent gain for Boeing.
The European planemaker also overtook Boeing in terms of the number of planes ordered for the year. Tallying up after the announcements at the show, Airbus now has at least 626 orders on its books. Boeing, which announced 66 new orders at the show, has taken its year-to-date total to 510 as of June 20.
Boeing put up a brave face, saying through a statement that their longstanding policy did not allow them to "store up order announcements for an air show.'' It further said, ``We used the show to confirm that the 787 Dreamliner remains on schedule for first delivery in May 2008.''
Airbus this week also won non-binding commitments, or options, for an additional 303 planes worth an estimated $37 billion at list prices.
``The air show has confirmed that Airbus is very much back on the market,'' chief executive officer, Louis Gallois said today in a statement.
Airbus intends to convert all this week's non-binding orders into contracts by the end of the year, Airbus's chief operating officer, customers, John Leahy, said in an interview, which would bring Airbus's total to about 930 firm orders for 2007.
New orders this week for Airbus included 141 firm contracts for the A350 XWB, taking the total orders for the aircraft to 154, which is close to the 200-plane target the company has set for itself.
This, however, is nowhere close to the 634 orders that Boeing has collected so far for the 787 Dreamliner.