Airbus has lost its top spot to its US arch-rival Boeing even though the European planemaker delivered record numbers of airliners last year.
But despite no longer being the number one, Airbus is confident of improvements in both orders and deliveries this year as airlines look to replace their fleets with more fuel efficient planes.
It delivered 588 aircraft to 89 customers last year.
Orders were a different story. Airbus was not able to repeat 2011’s record of 1,419. Net orders – that is after cancellations – totalled 833 in 2012, down 41 percent.
That was far short of Boeing’s 1,203 net orders – a 49 percent increase fro 2011’s 805.
The orders totals were announced as Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner was grounded by European and US authorities because of a potential fire risk from its batteries.
It is not yet clear how much of a set back that will be for Boeing, but aerospace analyst Carter Leake with BB&T Capital Markets said it could cost the planemaker dear: “Boeing is going to forge ahead, regardless, they have to. If they find something that needs to be recertified, they will do that post production and that’s costly. It can impede deliveries and so that’s the risk.”
The 787 is made of carbon-composite, like the A350 Airbus is developing as a rival. Airbus said it remains confident that the A350 will achieve its maiden flight by the middle of this year.