Airbus stays world's biggest plane manufacturer, sets sights high for 2011
Airbus remained the world's biggest plane manufacturer throughout 2010, beating arch-rival US firm Boeing. After announcing a record deal for 150 planes with IndiGo last week, Airbus is looking to stay on top in 2011.
AFP - Europe's Airbus remained the world's biggest planemaker in 2010 by booking its 10,000th order, beating US rival Boeing, and plans to increase deliveries further this year, company chairman Tom Enders said Monday.
Enders said Airbus delivered 510 planes last year and won 574 orders worth $84 billion (63 billion euros) at list prices, booking its 10,000th order.
For 2011 the company is targeting to deliver between 520 and 530 planes.
"2010 was a good year, in fact better than expected 12 months ago. The market rebound and improved programme performance has been particularly encouraging," Enders said.
Boeing, Airbus' sole true rival in the global airliner market, won 530 orders and delivered 462 planes last year.
Airbus said its aircraft production set a new company record for the ninth year in a row.
"With plenty of challenges, especially in our development programmes, we'll have to work hard to further improve and also make 2011 a successful year for Airbus," said Enders, briefing reporters at his Toulouse headquarters.
The 2010 deliveries included 401 of the medium-range workhorse A320 and 18 of the super-jumbo A380s.
The new 2010 orders included 452 A320s and 32 A380s, giving Airbus a 51 percent share in the market of civil aircraft with more than 100 seats.
Airbus expects to further increase deliveries in 2011 and keep its book-to-bill ratio above one, added Enders.
"This is the result of strong airline demand for new and more eco-efficient aircraft," he said. "We respond to our customer's requests by introducing the right technologies at the right time as per the launch of the A320neo."
The A320 series of small airliners is one of Airbus' most successful models, and the "neo" or "New Engine Option" version to hit the market in 2016 will have new engines designed to provide 15 percent fuel savings.
The company unveiled a $5 billion order of 60 A320s by low-cost US carrier Virgin America that was placed on December 29, boosting its 2010 figures and putting it over the 10,000-orders mark.
Half of the orders were for the neo version, making Virgin America the first airline to order the aircraft.
Airbus said it hired 2,200 new employees last year to take its workforce up to 52,500. It plans to hire as many as 3,000 people this year as it strives to ramp-up of aircraft including the A320 and development of the A320neo.
Airbus got off to a good start in 2011 by announcing last week a record civil aircraft deal in terms of planes ordered, with the Indian budget carrier Indigo to buy 150 A320neos plus 30 regular A320s worth $15.6 billion at list price.