Airbus reports sharp fall in aircraft orders

10th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 10, 2006 (AFP) - European aircraft maker Airbus announced a sharp fall in its orders on Monday, a setback for the company in its battle with Chicago-based Boeing and a sign that the US group is in the ascendancy.

PARIS, July 10, 2006 (AFP) - European aircraft maker Airbus announced a sharp fall in its orders on Monday, a setback for the company in its battle with Chicago-based Boeing and a sign that the US group is in the ascendancy.

Airbus said it had booked 117 firm orders for passenger jets in the first half of 2006, fewer than half the number in the same period of 2005 and far behind Boeing.

The announcement added to a run of bad news for the group, which has been hit by management problems and production difficulties with its flagship project - the A380 superjumbo jet.

In the first six months of 2005, Airbus had booked 276 orders and over the full year beat Boeing for orders for the fifth consecutive year.

The figures, published on the company's website, show the European group far behind Boeing which reported 480 orders at the end of July, four times more over roughly the same period.

Reversing this trend will be a key challenge for the new chief executive of Airbus, Christian Streiff, who took over at the beginning of the month.

Airbus leads for deliveries - 219 compared with 160 for Boeing - but the figure for orders is seen as the indicator of future success and shows the relative strength of each company's product range.

Boeing is winning the race in the long-haul market with its 787 model, which is being marketed to airlines as a fuel efficient, medium-sized jet.

By contrast, Airbus has had to redesign its A350 aircraft, which it hoped would rival the 787 in this segment of the market.

The A350, which was poorly received by potential customers, is being overhauled and might re-emerge as the A370 according to some reports following design changes.

In the meantime, Boeing is reaping the rewards and Airbus said it had received just 20 orders for long-haul carriers, which includes the A330, A340, A350 and A380.

The 787, which has a capacity of 250-300 passengers, has attracted 350 orders since its commercial launch in 2004 compared with about 100 for the A350.

Figures for small, single-aisled airlines also show Airbus behind Boeing. The European group revealed 96 orders from January to June while Boeing had 374 from January to July.

Orders for the Airbus A380, which will be the biggest airliner in the world when it enters service next year, have dried up since the beginning of 2006.

No new orders have been added this year to the 159 already placed, the figures showed.

Airbus announced in June that it had experienced production problems with the A380 which would result in delays to deliveries of the giant aircraft.

The news exposed management problems at Airbus and its parent company EADS and led to the departure of Airbus chief executive Gustav Humbert and EADS co-chief executive Noël Forgeard.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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