Max Kingsley-Jones/LONDON

The sales battle between Airbus Industrie and Boeing has edged back in favour of the US company during the first six months of this year, after Boeing secured well over half of the orders placed. In 1999, Airbus convincingly pushed its rival into second place after taking 55% of the orders.

The two rivals sold 570 aircraft during the first half of 2000, 60% more than in the same period last year (350 aircraft). At the same time, deliveries are down 15% on last year as small increases in output at the Airbus plants in Toulouse and Hamburg have been countered by a slowdown at Boeing.

The combined effect has seen the two companies' backlog grow slightly from the 1999 year-end tally of 2,960 aircraft to 3,126 units. The backlog remains split almost equally between the two, with Boeing holding a slim upper hand.

Although Boeing has had sales across almost its entire range, its strong first half has been driven largely by 737 sales, including the late June deal from Southwest for 94 firm orders. Boeing's 328-aircraft order tally in the first half sets the company up for a much stronger performance than last year, when it netted just 391 orders over the full 12 month period.

Airbus took 239 orders, which represents a similar performance to the first half of 1999, when it sold 234 aircraft. With the A3XX commercially launched, the consortium heads into the second half with the prospect of adding high-value sales of the ultra-large-aircraft before the end of the year.

Source: Flight International