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Airbus' Sales Take Off at Air Show

June 18, 2005|From Times Wire Services

Airbus took the majority of a record $50 billion in plane deals announced at the Paris Air Show as it added last-minute transactions worth $3.6 billion Friday.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus has outsold Boeing Co. by a margin of more than 2 to 1 at the world's biggest aviation jamboree, held at Le Bourget airport this week.

Yet Chicago-based Boeing Co. is beating Airbus in sales this year in the key market for mid-size jetliners, and many industry analysts expect it to wrest leadership in overall orders from Airbus in 2005.

Airbus sales chief John Leahy suggested that his company would retain its lead in new orders over Boeing, despite forecasts to the contrary from Airbus parent EADS as well as from Boeing and industry analysts.

The two rivals reported a record $48.7 billion in air show deals, with Airbus accounting for $33.5 billion and Boeing $15.2 billion, company data and calculations based on list prices showed.

Smaller companies added to the overall tally, with Brazilian plane maker Embraer among those landing deals.

On Friday, Airbus announced a deal for 18 single-aisle A319 jets from discount carrier Germanwings. The order takes to 280 the number of planes sold by Airbus at the air show.

Boeing has disclosed sales of 146 jets worth about $15 billion at list price at Le Bourget -- half the value of its rival's air show business -- and says it is unlikely to announce any more deals before the show closes Sunday.

The volley of sale announcements fueled upbeat forecasts for an industry clambering out of a post-2001 recession with the help of emerging aviation powers, including a string of commitments from airlines in India.

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