Toulouse: Expectedly, Airbus said Wednesday that it had won record aircraft orders last year, but also, unsurprisingly, it lagged its US rival Boeing for the second successive year in a row.
The European aircraft maker, a subsidiary of EADS, the Franco-German aerospace and defence group, said Wednesday that it had won 1,341 net new orders, after cancellations and conversions by customers from one aircraft type to another. This marks a 70 per cent increase from the 790 units sold in 2006 and also well ahead of its previous record of 1,055 units sold in 2005.
Airbus orders for 2007 are valued at $157.1bn at list prices.
Boeing had earlier reported a rise in its net commercial jet orders for 2007 by 35 per cent, from 1,044 to 1,413.
Record orders for both Airbus and Boeing come on the back of surging global demand from airlines. However, after three years of unprecedented sales, industry analysts expect demand to contract sharply this year.
Both Airbus and Boeing have said that the demand for 2008 will continue to be more than the production capacity for the year.
Demand for aircraft has been boosted by the pressure on airlines to modernise their fleets to improve fuel efficiency in the face of the high oil prices and environmental demands for cleaner aircraft.
Demand has also been fuelled by particularly strong sales in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions and by the success of low-cost carriers in all regions.
Meanwhile, Airbus remained narrowly ahead of Boeing in the number of aircraft delivered last year, with production rising to a record 453 as compared with Boeing deliveries of 441.
Airbus forecast on Wednesday that it would deliver more than 470 aircraft this year, while Boeing has previously forecast between 480 and 490 deliveries in 2008.
Airbus also said that it had an order backlog of 3,421 aircraft at the end of 2007, representing more than six years production at increasing production rates. Boeing has reported an order backlog of more than 3,400 jets.