Airbus nosed ahead of Boeing in the Farnborough orders race with comfortably more than half of the announced firm commitments, and associated list-price dollar value.

The show deals enabled the European airframer to further extend its lead over its arch-rival in terms of net orders booked so far in 2007.

Eight customers announced firm orders for 247 Airbus airliners during the show, while another two revealed memoranda of understanding for nine additional aircraft, landing the manufacturer new business it values at a total of $40.5 billion based on list prices.

The deals included 10 new-build A380s for Etihad Airways, after the Abu Dhabi carrier decided to drop an earlier commitment to take four ex-test aircraft.

Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy says the order total demonstrates that "doom and gloom" predictions of a subdued show have not been proven accurate.

Airbus had expected to sell around 700 aircraft this year, but has since raised that expectation to 850. Leahy says the airframer's net order total so far this year is 730 aircraft.

"We may even have to ramp that up," says Leahy, but adds: "The market for the second half of the year is going to be a lot softer than in the first half."

Boeing disclosed six customers for 197 firm aircraft during the show worth an estimated $22-25 billion at list prices, although all but 65 aircraft had already been added to its backlog as "undisclosed".

As of 15 July the US airframer had accumulated net orders for 542 aircraft in 2008.

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Source: Flight International