Mixed news from European plane maker Airbus as it beat its US rival Boeing for deliveries in 2008 but said it sees a tough year ahead.
Airbus predicted its orders will halve in 2009 as the airline industry is hit by the global economic crisis. Airbus’ Chief Executive Thomas Enders is hoping to keep up the pace of deliveries. He said: “Let me put it this way, in 2008 – as you’ve seen – we scored an all-time high in deliveries. I would be quite content if we were able to score deliveries roughly at the same level in 2009.” Airbus extended its lead over Boeing last year in terms of deliveries handing over 483 planes to the US company’s 375. However that was partly because there was an eight week long strike by Boeing machinists. Announcing the delivery figures, Airbus said it expects to deliver 18 of its much delayed double-decker superjumbo A380s this year, fewer than the original target of 21. And in a cheeky move Airbus said it would like to offer a customised A380 as the US presidential plane Air Force One, currently a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, which is due to be replaced in 2017.