Airbus beats Boeing with 574 orders in 2010

TOULOUSE, France, Jan 17, 2011 (AFP) - Europe's Airbus remained the world's biggest planemaker in 2010, beating US rival Boeing, and plans to increase new deliveries next year, company chairman Tom Enders told reporters.

Enders said Airbus had delivered 510 planes last year and won 574 orders worth $84 billion (63 billion euros) at list prices, and now planned to deliver between 520 and 530 this year.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders (R) and commercial director John Leary (L) give a press conference on January 17, 2011 in Colomiers, western France, to announce that low-cost US carrier Virgin America ordered sixty Airbus A320 including thirty A320 Neo (New Engine Option) for around $5 billion (3.8 billion euros). AFP

"2010 was a good year, in fact better than expected 12 months ago. The market rebound and improved programme performance has been particularly encouraging," Enders said.

Boeing, Airbus' sole true rival in the global airliner market, won 530 orders and delivered 462 planes last year.

Airbus said its aircraft production set a new company record for the ninth year in a row.

"With plenty of challenges, especially in our development programmes, we'll have to work hard to further improve and also make 2011 a successful year for Airbus," said Enders, briefing reporters at his Toulouse headquarters.

The 2010 deliveries included 401 of the medium-range workhorse A320 and 18 of the super-jumbo A380s.

The new 2010 orders included 452 A320s and 32 A380s, giving Airbus a 51 percent share in the market of civil aircraft with more than 100 seats.

Airbus expects to further increase deliveries in 2011 and keep its book-to-bill ratio above one, added Enders.

"This is the result of strong airline demand for new and more eco-efficient aircraft," he said. "We respond to our customer's requests by introducing the right technologies at the right time as per the launch of the A320neo."

The A320 series of small airliners is one of Airbus' most successful models, and the "neo" version has new engines designed to boost fuel efficiency.

Last week Airbus announced its first order for the A320neo, a record civil aircraft order in terms of planes from Indian budget carrier Indigo, for 150 of the new model plus 30 regular A320s worth around $15.6 billion at list price.

The company said it hired 2,200 new employees last year to take its workforce up to 52,500. It plans to hire as many as 3,000 people this year as strives to ramp-up of aircraft including the A320 and development of the A320neo.

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