U.S. planemaker Boeing Co expects to surpass European rival Airbus in commercial plane deliveries in two to three years, a top Boeing official said Tuesday.
Airbus moved past Boeing in deliveries for the first time last year.
Airbus delivered 305 commercial jets and won gross new orders for 284 planes last year compared with Boeing's 281 deliveries and 240 orders.
"We expect that with the 7E7 offering and the robustness of the 777..., that within two to three years, it would take us to that position," Randolph Baseler, vice president for marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes said, when asked when Boeing expects to re-capture the lead in deliveries.
Baseler said Boeing expects deliveries to reach 285 this year, rising to 300 in 2005, and increasing further in 2006.
Chicago-based Boeing launched its first new jetliner in more than a decade in April, the fuel-efficient, mid-sized 7E7, aimed at clawing back market share from Airbus.
It also announced its first 7E7 order in April, a 50-plane contract from Japan's All Nippon Airways worth about $6 billion at list prices. Last week, Air New Zealand placed an order for two 7E7s.
The 7E7 Dreamliner, which consumes 20 percent less fuel, is expected to enter service in 2008.
Baseler said Boeing has been working with 50 airlines in the last two years on the 7E7 and has sent out proposals to almost half of those airlines.
Baseler said the company expects passengers to demand more point to point non-stop flights and more frequencies, which would reduce the need to increase plane sizes.
Airbus has received 129 firm orders for its next all-new plane, the A380 due in 2006. It will be the world's biggest airliner with seating for more than 800 passengers in some configurations.
Airbus Chief Commercial Officer John Leahy told Reuters on Monday he was confident of securing an order from an Asian carrier for the A380 this year. The order could be for about 10 aircraft.
Overall, Leahy said Airbus was likely to book orders for 250 aircraft this year and deliver at least 305.
He said orders and deliveries next year would be "at least as good as this year."