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Airbus puts delivery target above 600

Airbus is aiming to deliver more than 600 aircraft this year, and keep its book-to-bill ratio above unity.

The airframer is looking to secure gross orders for 700 jets.

Chief operating officer for customers John Leahy, speaking in Toulouse, said the airframer "has to have some reality in the order book" to avoid upsetting the delivery process.

Airbus intends to hand over 25 A380s over the course of this year, an output dampened by the need to modify wing production to fix a bracket-cracking problem. It had previously admitted the figure would fall below the 30 achieved in 2012.

But the airframer is also aiming to secure an equal number of orders for the double-deck type. "The important thing is to keep production smooth," says Leahy.

Airbus chief executive Fabrice Brégier says that the transition to the modified A380 wing - which will be standard on aircraft delivered from 2014 - means the airframer will "miss a month [of production], more or less".

Qatar Airways had been scheduled to take A380s at the end of 2013 but Brégier says that new customers do not want a mix of old and new wings.

He says there will be a "shift" of aircraft from 2013 to 2014 but that, across the two-year span, Airbus will still manage "close to" 60 A380 deliveries.

Airbus is also planning to raise A330 production to 10 aircraft per month, from 9.5, in spring this year.

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