EADS CEO: Airbus to more or less match Boeing's 2007 orders

Airbus, which is expected to announce the total number of orders it has won from customers over 2007 sometime over the next two weeks, may report only a ''a small difference'' from arch-rival Boeing, according to Louis Gallois, CEO of Airbus parent EADS.

Gallois declined to provide a specific figure at a news conference last week but indicated that Airbus' total will be more or less in line with Boeing's record 1,413 announced last week The European aircraft manufacturer had logged 1,204 gross orders as of November 2007.

Gallois also forecast that both Boeing and Airbus would pick up fewer orders in 2008. However, Gallois said that the winner of the order race was not important as long as the sale figures were close.

"I am not worried about the difference because when two rivals have between 40% and 60% of the market, they are equal in the clients' eyes," he said.

Reflecting long-standing concerns about the declining value of the US dollar, which has adversely affected earnings for Airbus, Gallois said that the manufacturer needed to broad base its production and encourage its suppliers to set up sites in Asia and the US.

Gallois has repeatedly said that the company must offset the declining value of the dollar, compared to the euro, by moving more production to the US.