Air show deals exceed 400 Airbus and Boeing aircraft

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Airbus and Boeing are set for a record sales year after unveiling a raft of deals during the show, but the European airframer is warning that the continuing slide in the value of the dollar means that it may have to undertake even more stringent cost-saving efforts.

The two rivals announced new orders for more than 400 aircraft in Dubai. Airbus had a particularly strong show, racking up orders and commitments for 295 aircraft, of which 163 were firm orders. New A350 XWB deals included 70 firm orders from Emirates and a commitment for 30 from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise.

Boeing took its traditional low-key approach to air show order announcements, but nevertheless unveiled deals for more than 100 aircraft, the bulk comprising a 100-strong commitment from DAE.

Airbus orders this year stand at more than 1,180, surpassing the 1,111 achieved during its record year in 2005. Boeing's 2007 order tally is also busting through the 1,000 mark, putting the industry ahead of the all-time record of 2,057 net orders set in 2005.

But despite the current success, Airbus chief executive Tom Enders warns that the US dollar being "almost in free fall" is hampering the progress of its Power8 restructuring programme. "We can only have a profitable company if we do more to improve our efficiency. We are in the thinking process about what we can do to further improve Airbus's profitability."

Airbus is accelerating output across its plants, with the A320 heading towards 40 a month and the A330/A340 increasing from seven to 10 a month. Airbus chief operating officer customers John Leahy says that this year Airbus will deliver 450 aircraft "or a little more" and, based on the planned rate changes, a further increase in output towards 500 is likely in 2008.

Leahy says that the A320 production is sold out to 2012 and the A330/A340 to 2011, with "only a handful" of widebody slots still available in 2012.