European planemaker Airbus has scored a surprise victory in the annual orders race against Boeing.
The guest of honour at the company’s news conference announcing that was Richard Branson, who put them in the lead late in December by confirming the purchase of 60 Airbus A320s for the Virgin America budget airline.
That last-minute surge pushed Airbus past its US rival for a third year running.
It comes just days after the announcement by Airbus of the world’s largest potential plane order by volume from India low-cost IndiGo.
Adjusting for cancellations, Airbus sold a net total of 574 planes last year compared with Boeing’s 530.
The latest orders mean it has sold 10,000 planes during its 40-year history.
But Airbus’ parent company EADS still faces possible problems with its hugely over-budget A400M transport plane.
A German newspaper has reported that lawmakers on the budget committee in Germany’s lower house of parliament could delay approval of further funding because they’re not satisfied with some of the figures they have been given.