Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Monday, January 11, 1999 Published at 18:04 GMT

Business: The Company File

Airbus taking off

Airbus reports buoyant figures as Boeing cuts production and jobs

The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie, part-owned by British Aerospace, has reported glowing sales figures as its American rival Boeing has a dip in fortunes.

Airbus's results show sharp rises in sales and orders for its planes, just weeks after Boeing said it planned to cut jobs and production levels.

The European concern received 556 firm orders for new aircraft worth £23.5bn ($39bn), up from 460 orders worth £17.9bn ($29.6bn) the previous year.

Airbus, also owned by France's Aerospatiale, Spain's Construcciones Aeronauticas and Germany's DaimlerChrysler Aerospace is the main competitor for America's Boeing.

Airbus president Noel Forgeard said: "I am happy that the year 1998 allowed Airbus to reach its goal of achieving about 50% of the world market."

Sales in 1998 came from 36 customers, 14 of which had never bought directly from Airbus before.

Strong Asia sales

Sales were strong in Latin and North America, Europe and the Middle East, while Airbus continues to further its presence in Asia despite the ongoing economic crisis in the region.

[ image: Airbus and Boeing are the two global commerical plane manufacturers]
Airbus and Boeing are the two global commerical plane manufacturers
The plane-manufacturer said demand had been strong for second-hand aircraft, helping increase the number of Airbus Industrie operators by 10% to 160 by the end of 1998.

The most popular line was the A319, A320 and A321, with orders placed for 497.

Commenting on Europe's new single currency, Mr Forgeard said clients will have the choice whether to buy planes in euros or US dollars.

In Boeing's slipstream

Airbus Industrie said it received firm orders for 556 passenger jets in 1998, 100 fewer than the 656 orders worth $42.1bn already announced by Boeing.

But Airbus and Boeing regularly dispute each other's reporting methods.

Airbus has accused Boeing of lumping firm orders with non-binding commitments to swell its numbers, while the US company objects to Airbus's market-share claims based on total numbers of aircraft.

[ image: Boeing queries how Airbus reaches its figures]
Boeing queries how Airbus reaches its figures
Boeing has a near-monopoly in the high-margin market with its large 777 twinjets and 747 jumbos, allowing it to outsell Airbus in dollar terms.

Airbus says it wants to win a half share of the world market in both aircraft and in value.

Airbus's 1998 turnover totalled $13.3bn with 229 aircraft delivered, up from $11.6bn in 1997.

Boeing has disappointed the stock market with recent profit warnings and plans to scale back production that will involve lay-offs of up to 48,000 workers.

It blames the Asian crisis for its problems and Airbus's aggressive pricing policy. Airbus rejects the charges, saying Boeing's problems stem from what it calls its inability to forecast market demand and keep control of manufacturing processes. "Airbus Industrie's stated goal is to maintain its strong share of approximately half the commercial market, while improving profitability," the consortium said.

  • Airbus said work was continuing on a double-decker jumbo jetliner, codenamed the A3XX project, which could seat from 555 to 800 people.

    Advanced options | Search tips

    Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

  • The Company File Contents

    Relevant Stories

    09 Dec 98 | The Company File
    TWA leaves Boeing in the cold

    04 Dec 98 | The Company File
    Boeing in a tailspin

    02 Dec 98 | The Company File
    Boeing faces five years of pain

    14 Aug 98 | The Company File
    Rivals in the air

    Internet Links



    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

    In this section

    Microsoft trial mediator welcomed

    Vodafone takeover battle heats up

    Christmas turkey strike vote

    NatWest bid timetable frozen

    France faces EU action over electricity

    Pace enters US cable heartland

    Mannesmann fights back

    Storehouse splits up Mothercare and Bhs

    The rapid rise of Vodafone

    The hidden shopping bills

    Europe's top net stock

    Safeway faces cash demand probe

    Mitchell intervenes to help shipyard

    New factory creates 500 jobs

    Drugs company announces 300 jobs

    BT speeds internet access

    ICL creates 1,000 UK jobs

    National Power splits in two

    NTT to slash workforce

    Scoot links up with Vivendi

    New freedom for Post Office

    Insolvent firms to get breathing space

    Airtours profits jump 12%

    Freeserve shares surge

    LVMH buys UK auction house

    Rover - a car firm's troubles