Airbus has 'best year ever', keeps lead on Boeing

17th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 17, 2006 (AFP) - European aircraft maker Airbus said on Tuesday that it had booked firm orders exceeding 1,000 passenger planes in 2005, taking 51 percent of the world market and beating arch-rival Boeing for the fifth year running as more travellers took to the skies.

PARIS, Jan 17, 2006 (AFP) -  European aircraft maker Airbus said on Tuesday that it had booked firm orders exceeding 1,000 passenger planes in 2005, taking 51 percent of the world market and beating arch-rival Boeing for the fifth year running as more travellers took to the skies.

Airbus chief executive Gustav Humbert told a press conference that the group's firm orders had nearly tripled to a record 1,055 aircraft in 2005 from 366 the previous year.

The aircraft maker, controlled by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), meanwhile delivered 378 passenger planes last year compared with 320 in 2004.

"2005 has been the best year ever for Airbus," Humbert told reporters.

On Tuesday the share price in EADS was up 0.22 percent at EUR 31.52 in afternoon trade in Paris, outperforming the capital's CAC 40 index of leading shares which was down 0.75 percent at 4,819.6 points.

Airbus now has 51 percent of the civilian aviation market and for the fifth year running has beaten US rival Boeing on overall orders.

However Boeing is catching up and earlier this month announced that it had secured a record 1,002 firm orders in 2005 and delivered 290 airliners, only the third time it has lagged behind Airbus on annual deliveries.

On Tuesday, Humbert conceded that Boeing had won the battle over long-haul carriers last year.

"We are behind Boeing in the wide-body, long-range order intake. It was a special situation for the long-range last year, but one year doesn't make a trend," he said.

Boeing in 2005 had won 55 percent of the market regarding orders of long-haul aircraft. Humbert said that Airbus aimed to capture 50 percent of the market for long-distance aircraft within two years.

Looking ahead, Airbus forecasts deliveries of "more than 400" passenger planes in 2006, Humbert said, compared with Boeing's prediction of about 395 for its own aircraft.

Despite last year coming second to Airbus, Boeing has along with its European rival benefited from buoyant air travel market in 2005 with air passenger numbers rising 7.9 percent in the first 10 months, according to the latest data from industry body IATA.

The two also benefited from a rush of new contracts signed with airlines in Asia and the Middle East and orders from fast-growing low-cost carriers.

Humbert said that Airbus's revenue in 2005 rose to about EUR 22.3 billion in 2005 compared with EUR 20.22 billion the previous year.

He added that the group's operating margin rose to more than 10 percent last year from 9.5 percent in 2004.

The rise in passenger numbers coupled with spiral in the price of aviation fuel has encouraged airlines to invest in new planes.

The increase in fuel prices has encouraged airlines to modernise their fleets to introduce more fuel-efficient craft.

In October Airbus had launched the A350, a rival model to Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. Boeing's new flagship airliner is being marketed by Boeing as an "ultra-efficient" mid-sized craft capable of long-haul flights with reduced fuel consumption. Orders totalled 235 in 2005.

Airbus has received about 50 orders, or 172 including the intentions to purchase, for the A350.

Airbus is owned 80 percent by EADS and 20 percent by British defence giant BAE Systems.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article