Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Airbus to confirm order loss against Boeing.

Bidness: Now the worry is Boeing doesn't screw up as Airbus is trying to fix itself from its recent troubles.

AIRBUS will confirm tomorrow that it has lost the lead in aircraft orders to its rival Boeing after five years of dominance, The Times has learnt. The beleaguered jet builder will collate its half-year order book at a sales meeting in Toulouse tomorrow and a yawning gap between the two companies will become apparent. Airbus has definitive orders for 145 to 150 aircraft so far this year. In May it had 105 orders. Boeing has three times as many with 445 (358 in May). The disparity in sales figures emphasises the difficulties facing Airbus, which announced production delays in its flagship A380 project last month. Gustav Humbert, Airbus’s chief executive, was replaced last weekend, as was Noël Forgeard, the head of Airbus’s parent company, EADS. Airbus’s poor sales performance so far this year is in stark contrast to what the company has achieved in recent years. In 2005 it had 1,055 orders compared with Boeing’s 1,002, the fifth consecutive year that the Toulouse-based company had beaten its American rival. A City analyst said: “There is no doubt Airbus is struggling and it looks almost certain to lose out to Boeing over 12 months.”

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