Airbus loses to Boeing in '12, expects '13 record
Reuters and AFPDOHA/TOULOUSE--European group Airbus lost its top spot as the world's biggest maker of airliners to the U.S. giant Boeing last year, but did better than expected and sees big sales this year, it said on Thursday.
January 18, 2013, 12:23 am TWN
Publishing results just as Boeing is hit by a crisis of confidence in its Dreamliner plane after a series of incidents, Airbus said that last year it delivered 588 aircraft to 89 customers, a record after 534 deliveries in 2011.
But sales of the flagship superjumbo A380, the biggest airliner in the world, disappointed, coming in at about one third of the target figure after a problem was discovered with the wings which the company says is now behind it.
Airbus sold a total of 833 aircraft last year, far more than the initial target figure of 650, chief executive Fabrice Bregier told a press conference near where Airbus is based at Toulouse, southern France. However, the sales figure was far lower than the record of 1,419 sales in 2011.
Boeing delivered 601 airliners last year and took 1,203 orders.
For this year, Airbus expects to take 700 orders, excluding any cancellations, and to deliver more than 600 planes. The order book now total 4,682 planes representing about eight years of production work.
Airbus said that it hoped that its new long-range A350 aircraft would make its maiden flight at the end of June or beginning of July.
Of the 833 net orders last year, allowing for 81 cancellations, 739 were for medium-range A320-type airliners, popular with low-cost airlines, and of those 478 were for the “neo” version with new more fuel-efficient engines. The orders also comprised 58 long-haul A330 aircraft and 27 of the future A350. Airbus booked orders for nine of its A380 superjumbo jetliners.
Bregier said that Airbus, the main part of the giant European EADS aerospace group, had exceeded its targets in terms of new orders booked and of completed aircraft delivered, even though sales of the superjumbo had underperformed. Airbus had counted on selling 30 of the superjumbos but this target was knocked off course by the discovery of micro-cracks in the wings.
Bregier said that this problem had been “resolved” and said he expected that this year the company would take 25 orders and would also deliver 25 of the enormous aircraft.
In view of the rapid growth, the airline has recruited a net number of 7,000 people in the last two years, hiring 10,000 while 3,000 have left for normal reasons.
Qatar Airways Grounds Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet
Qatar Airways, the largest customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the Middle East, has grounded its entire fleet of five 787s until the safety of the plane is confirmed.
The airline said in a statement on Thursday it was following instructions from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Qatar's Civil Aviation Authority. The FAA grounded Boeing's newest commercial airliner on Wednesday. Other national regulators have followed suit.