Sixty regular Airbus A320s for an unidentified customer have helped push the airframer's 2012 gross order total to 914 jets.
While still trailing Boeing's gross figure of 1,339 the Airbus declaration is far above its original target of 650.
The airframer also delivered 588 aircraft, worth $76 billion, exceeding its mid-year estimate of 580.
Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy says the manufacturer had internally revised its order target during the summer, to "try to get to 900".
Leahy adds that, of 140 sales campaigns last year, "about half worked for Airbus".
As well as the order for 60 A320-family jets signed on 31 December the total includes three A330-300s, also for an undisclosed customer.
Chief executive Fabrice Brégier says the company "overachieved" during 2012, noting the increased production rates for the A320 and A330.
Airbus's net order figure for the year stood at 833 against Boeing's 1,203, giving the European airframer a 41% share of the combined $231 billion in revenues.
The two rivals' total order backlog reached more than 9,000 aircraft with Airbus accounting for 4,682 - the slightly larger share.
But Airbus's A320neo firmly leads the Boeing 737 Max in terms of firm backlog with 62% of the 2,798 orders.
While the A320neo took 478 net orders last year Airbus still managed to sell 261 of the baseline A320 variants.
A320 deliveries rose to 455, a new record for the company.
Twenty-seven A350s and 58 A330s and A340s featured in the net order total although A380 sales dwindled to nine.
Airbus had expected the popularity of the 737 Max to hand Boeing a strong year but Brégier insists he is not disappointed.
"We see we are still enjoying a leading position on the [A320neo] following a small catch-up from Boeing," he says. "We are still on the right track."
Boeing delivered 13 more jets than Airbus in 2012, a total of 601.