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Boeing and Airbus in photo finish in orders race

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Dec. 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
December 30, 2010 3:12 pm

Boeing leads in the annual race with European rival Airbus this year so far to land the most commercial airliner orders, but Airbus could be closing fast as the year ends.

The France-based aerospace manufacturer announced orders today from China Eastern Airlines for 50 Airbus A320 single-aisle jets. It wasn’t clear in the announcement whether those are new orders or orders already announced as part of an overall Chinese airlines order.

Boeing says it has booked 583 new airliner orders this year not deducting cancellations. Airbus has reported 440 new orders through November.

In a letter to employees Airbus CEO Tom Enders said he expects new orders this year to exceed 500, but he didn’t say by how many. The partial contents of that letter was reported in The Wall Street Journal.

That figure is about twice as many as Airbus had predicted earlier this year. A reviving economy in much of the world is responsible for those additional orders, Enders said.

Airbus and Boeing won’t announce final 2010 orders until early next year. Airbus is notorious for signing deals at year’s end.

With both companies winning more than 500 orders, 2010 will be a far better year than 2009. Boeing won 263 orders last year. Airbus toted up 310.

Even the healthy number of orders this year are nowhere near the record orders of the middle of the last decade. Boeing booked more than 1,000 orders in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

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