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News > International
Airbus sells $17.2B planes
January 29, 2001: 7:42 a.m. ET

Plane maker sold record 311 jets and took orders worth $41.3 billion in 2000
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LONDON (CNNfn) - Airbus said Monday it captured 40 percent of the market for large commercial aircraft last year in its battle to break Boeing's dominance.

The European plane maker said it sold a record 311 planes worth $17.2 billion in 2000, up from 294 aircraft a year earlier. The company said it took in orders for 520 planes worth $41.3 billion, another record, in the year.

Airbus's only competitor, Seattle-based Boeing (BA: Research, Estimates), delivered 489 commercial jets and received new orders for 611 new planes in 2000, pushing up orders logged by both firms to 1,131.

graphicThe 520 planes ordered from Airbus came in just shy of its previous record of 556 in 1998. Sales in 2000 were driven by deliveries of its popular A320 family of aircraft.

"Production rates will continue to rise in the years to come in line with the order book increase to reach an average of 38 aircraft per month in 2003," Airbus said in a statement.

Airbus said the 2000 tally did not include the 50 firm orders for its A380 super jumbo, which can seat 550 people on two decks. Airbus aims to sell 50 more A380s over the next 12 to 18 months.

Airbus Commercial Director John Leahy told a news conference on Monday that orders would slow this year, amid signs of weaker U.S. economic growth.

"We believe it will be a softer market this year," Leahy said. "I would say 350 to 400 orders sounds about right."

Airbus and Boeing have built up strong order backlogs in recent years, making them less vulnerable to cyclical swings. However, some analysts worry that plans to boost aircraft production have increased the risk that an order drought could hit profits in the years ahead.

"We feel pretty strongly that the robust orders seen last year could drain orders from this year and next," Dan Solon of aviation consultants Avmark International said last week. "The U.S. economy is showing clear signs of slowing and that could have a ripple effect on airline purchasing plans."

Airbus' Leahy said on Monday he expected U.S. carriers Northwest Airlines and United Airlines to order the new superjumbo at some time in the future.

The Toulouse, France-based jet maker last month announced its decision to go ahead with development of the A380, the world's biggest passenger jet, after winning firm orders from six operators - Air France (PAIR), Dubai-based Emirates Airlines, International Lease Finance Corp (AIG: Research, Estimates), Australia's Qantas Airways, Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic.

Boeing is trying to drum up interest in its own expanded jumbo airliner, the 747X, but has not yet announced any orders.

Airbus is 80 percent owned by European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co. (PEAD), and 20 percent by British weapons builder BAE Systems (BA-).

Airbus is transforming itself from a consortium into a single body by the end of February to position itself to take on Boeing. The company hopes to slash costs by 500 million euros by 2004, by coordinating purchasing and planning.

--from staff and wire reports graphic





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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.