Kevin O'Toole/LONDON

BOEING RE-ASSERTED its dominance of world airliner markets in 1995, revealing a total of 346 new orders for the year, more than treble the result of either Airbus or McDonnell Douglas (MDC).

Ron Woodard, president of Boeing's Commercial Airplane Group, is upbeat about the outlook for 1996. "Our goal is to increase new order volume, and significantly higher targets are in place," he said when revealing the year-end figures in Seattle.

The result is in marked contrast to 1994, when Boeing reached a low point of 120 new orders, coming second to Airbus for the first time in its history, albeit in a heavily depressed market. Woodard is confident that the group is now back on track, with a 60% market share in jet-airliner orders.

Airbus, which ended 1995 showing 106 new orders for the year, is philosophical about Boeing's resurgence, pointing out that the comparison looks more balanced if it excludes areas of the market where the consortium does not compete - ie, above 335 seats and below 124 seats.

Boeing was also helped, by the timing of its new-aircraft launches. Orders for the new-generation 737 forged ahead, helped by a series of hard-fought battles in Europe, while a renewed round of ordering for the 777, including the substantial Singapore and Saudia purchases, added more than 90 aircraft. Orders for the 747-400 also recovered, fuelling interest in new versions of the aircraft.

The most striking turnaround of 1995 was from MDC, which ended the year with 114 new orders. In 1994, the manufacturer had amassed little more than 20 orders, and nearly as many cancellations.

The MDC total, however, relies heavily on the 50-aircraft deal with ValuJet to launch the MD-95, as well as the 32 aircraft ordered by Saudia. Without these, MDC's underlying business was 32 aircraft.

Overall figures from the big three jet-airliner manufacturers total some 566 aircraft, more than doubling the depressed total of 268 recorded in 1994. The level of cancellations is also expected to be much lower when the full figures are released.

Source: Flight International