Boeing has edged out Airbus in airliner sales during the first half of this year, as order intake fell almost 40% to 273 aircraft, compared to the same period last year. But deliveries dropped 10%, as Boeing's output cuts took effect - although Airbus maintained 2001 production levels.

Helped by strong sales of 737s, Boeing won 166 orders, compared to 107 for its rival. Boeing's 32 order cancellations reduced its net orders to 134 aircraft.

Airbus's orders were spread more evenly across its product range, and included the reallocation of A340-600s originally ordered by the now defunct Swissair. No A380 new sales were recorded. Having had a clear-out from its order backlog at the end of last year, Airbus has kept cancellations to a net total of three aircraft.

As Airbus maintained the 160 aircraft delivery tally of the first half of 2001, Boeing's output fell from 263 aircraft to 220 - a 16% drop. Total deliveries this year are expected to reach around 680 aircraft (300 Airbuses and 380 Boeings), down from 850 last year. Next year the two companies output will be around 300 aircraft each (Flight International, 9-15 July).

The bulk of Boeing cuts so far have affected the 717 and 737, with deliveries down 67% and 10% respectively. Output across the widebody lines in Everett, Washington (747, 767 and 777) was down 10%, while 757 deliveries were at a similar level to a year ago.

The total backlog has fallen by 144 aircraft (5%) since the end of last year, to 2,788 aircraft, with Airbus holding the majority share (55%). Airbus has predicted industry orders of around 400-500 for the year. Key orders expected soon include the 100-plus aircraft deal for low-cost carrier EasyJet.

Source: Flight International