Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Airbus leads Boeing after record 2009 plane deliveries

Airbus announcement overshadowed by A400M

Airbus has said it has made a record amount of deliveries in 2009, beating US rival Boeing.

The planemaker handed over a total of 498 aircraft to customers in 2009, 15 more than in 2008 and ahead of Boeing for the seventh year running.

At the end of 2009, the company had a total order backlog of almost 3,500 aircraft.

That makes an order book worth $437bn (£270bn) - equal to six years of full production.

After adjusting for order cancellations, Airbus sold almost twice as many planes as Boeing in 2009 with net sales of 271 aircraft compared with Boeing's 142.

More delays

But Airbus admitted it was disappointed by a fall in production of its A380, the world's largest airliner, which it said would remain a cost liability for some time to come.

Although A380 output fell in only its second full year of production, Airbus said an internal audit had found ways of making it more efficiently. It promised to step up production.

Airbus orders: 271
Boeing orders: 142
Airbus deliveries: 498
Boeing deliveries: 481

And another of its star projects, the A400M military plane, is also causing problems.

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said the company would need a lot more money from its government customers for the overdue and over-budget project to have a chance of succeeding.

Airbus, part of the aerospace group EADS, has been wrestling for years with these two craft, which are two of Europe's largest industrial projects.

Mr Enders, who is also Airbus's president as well as its head, said: "Considering the economic and financial environment we have done rather well in 2009... (but) we are not out of the woods yet."

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