Max Kingsley-Jones/LONDON

The "big two" airliner builders - Airbus Industrie and Boeing - passed the 800 order mark between them in the closing days of 1999. Both manufacturers also achieved their output targets, delivering a record 914 aircraft between them.

Boeing spent last month rapidly gaining ground on Airbus' mid-December tally of 420 orders, with contract announcements bolstering its intake to 391 aircraft. Airbus is expected to reveal more deals which will boost its 1999 tally, but the two players' combined year-end total is likely to be much lower than the 1,200 order average of 1996-8.

The new Boeing order announcements are:

• Singapore Airlines confirmed its Paris air show deal to convert 10 more Rolls-Royce Trent 800-powered 777 options and to dispose of its Airbus A340-300s;

• Alaska Airlines ordered two 737-700s in addition to the eight aircraft included in Boeing's mid-December announcement;

• International Lease Finance confirmed plans to order 50 737s, plus 50 options. The deal was announced at June's Paris air show;

• San Francisco-based leasing company GATX ordered five additional 737-800s and two 757-200s;

• Delta Air Lines confirmed orders for three 737-800s and two 757-200s for delivery from early next year. These were part of the mid-December listing of orders from "unidentified customers";

• German charter carrier Air Berlin ordered six more 737-800s;

• Hapag-Lloyd signed for two more 737-800s.

Boeing delivered 165 aircraft in the fourth quarter, ensuring that the company's year-long target of 620 deliveries was achieved. Output this year is set to drop 20%, to 480 units, with 757 and 767 rates the most affected.

Airbus delivered 294 aircraft in 1999 and expects to see this rise to about 310 this year.

Source: Flight International