IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Airbus trailed Boeing in 2007 orders

Airbus said Wednesday it trailed Boeing Co. in logging new orders last year by a total of 72 civilian jets, but beat its U.S. rival in terms of deliveries.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Airbus said Wednesday it trailed Boeing Co. in logging new orders last year by a total of 72 civilian jets, but beat its U.S. rival in terms of deliveries.

The European planemaker also projected that its 2008 orders will exceed deliveries, of which it has scheduled over 470. The company, which has been through a rough patch in recent years, also said it beat its internal targets for costs savings in 2007.

Airbus reported a record 1,341 net orders for 2007, compared with 1,413 for Boeing.

The Airbus orders were mostly for passenger jets, but included freighters, too. Airbus did not give a monetary value for the orders, which would be worth $157.1 billion (106 billion euros) at catalog prices. Airlines usually negotiate substantial discounts to the list price.

In terms of deliveries, Airbus beat Boeing 453 to 441 in 2007. It said it delivered 19 more jets than in 2006 — including handing over to Singapore Airlines the first superjumbo A380, the world’s biggest passenger jet that has suffered costly production problems and delays.

Jet sales are expected to slow considerably for both Airbus and Boeing in 2008. Airbus forecast that its orders will exceed deliveries, of which it has scheduled over 470.

But planemakers will be cushioned from the slowdown by bulging order books that will take several years to fill. Airbus said at the end of last year it had a backlog of 3,421 aircraft, representing six years of production at steadily increasing rates.

“2007 was a challenging but also successful year for Airbus,” Chief Executive Thomas Enders said in a statement. “2008 will be as challenging on all fronts.”

Airbus ceded the top sales spot to Boeing in 2006 after the U.S. planemaker introduced a new plane, the 787 Dreamliner, restructured its sales team so that was free to offer discounts.

Airbus, by contrast, was hampered by a series of increasingly worrying announcements, beginning in June 2005 which revealed botched management of the A380 superjumbo, delaying delivery by almost two years and slashing profit at parent company EADS.

The result: An overhaul of top executives and a restructuring plan that aims to recoup 2 billion euros ($2.95 billion) in savings by 2010 and cut 10,000 jobs.

Airbus said Wednesday that it exceeded its target last year with cost savings of 300 million euros ($444 million) and 3,000 job cuts through attrition. Louis Gallois, CEO of Airbus’ parent EADS, has said the European planemaker will need additional savings to compensate for the weaker dollar.

“On the basis of the current exchange rate we have to find extra savings from somewhere. We are seriously discussing what this could be,” Enders told reporters.

Airbus also plans to continue its “internationalization” by shifting production abroad, Enders said.

Airbus revenue has been hit as the slide erodes the dollar sale price of its planes.

EADS blamed the slump in the dollar and delays with the A400M military transport aircraft for a third quarter net loss of 776 million euros ($1.14 billion), compared with a loss of 189 million euros in 2006. Full year results will be published until March 11.

Shares in EADS were down by 4.25 percent in morning trading on Wednesday at the Paris stock exchange, at 17.79 euros ($26.48) a share.

Airbus’ 2007 net order figure did not include all orders for the new version of its planned A350, a midsize, long-range aircraft that it has redesigned and redubbed the A350 XWB.

Airbus said the A350 XWB clocked 292 firm orders in 2007.

Airbus was forced to come up with new plans for the A350, which competes with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, after customers ordered a costly redesign that pushed back production. Enders said engineers should fix a specific design for the A350 XWB in the second half of this year.

Boeing is facing its own problems with the 787, which has already been hit with two delays, most recently last October, when Boeing said supply chain and assembly line problems had forced it to push back flight testing until March.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources familiar with the 787 program, reported Tuesday that the 787 likely will not begin flight testing until June. Boeing spokesman Peter Conte declined to comment on the report.