Boeing set an industry record in 2005 with over 1,000 orders, but Airbus could still steal its thunder next week if it has managed to close major outstanding commitments before year-end.

The European manufacturer is remaining tight-lipped about its 2005 performance ahead of its annual briefing in Paris on 17 January, when it will disclose its order and delivery numbers. Airbus will only say that its order total will be “about the same magnitude” as its rival, confirming that the industry’s total orders for the year should be around the 2,000 mark and well ahead of the previous record of 1,631 set in 1989.

“We’ve beaten Boeing in five of the last six years...while some are saying that Boeing has taken more orders in 2005, the reality may be different,” cautions Airbus.

The manufacturer traditionally adds a large number of orders to its backlog in the final month of the year. By the end of November, Airbus had signed 687 orders, putting it 342 behind the 1,029 gross orders that Boeing took last year. However, Flight International and AvSoft understand that Airbus secured at least 100 firm orders in December and calculate that the manufacturer has over 400 more outstanding commitments that could have been confirmed before year-end.

Key to the order battle will be the 150 aircraft deal from China announced last month as well as 70 A320s from lessor AerCap. The status of these and other outstanding commitments will not be known until next week.

Boeing’s 1,002 net orders surpass its previous personal best 877 net orders in 1988 (including McDonnell Douglas) and is a massive increase on the 272 in 2004. The year also saw record order totals for the 737 (567 orders), 777 (154 orders ) and 787 (235 orders).


Source: Flight International