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Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Airbus wins 2017 order race in last-minute sales spree

Airbus wins 2017 order race in last-minute sales spree

Airbus SE delivered a record number of planes in 2017 and booked more new jetliner orders than expected, marking a positive end to a hard year for the European plane maker, marred by further allegations of wrongdoing, personnel turmoil, and supplier problems.

"We are still talking to Emirates, but honestly, they are probably the only one to have the ability right now on the marketplace to take a minimum of six per year on a period of eight to 10 years", Airbus's sales director, John Leahy, said.

He said talks with Emirates were ongoing and that he was hopeful a deal would be worked out.

Airbus also achieved 1,109 net orders from 44 customers globally.

The A380 has been a jumbo disappointment for Airbus. "It has been doing well about 50:50 with our competitors wide-body sales in the last 10 years", he said, adding that it should maintain good momentum growth.

The A380 drew worldwide attention when launched a decade ago but has always struggled to win enough customers.

Following another "miraculous" December - which saw 127 deliveries and the finalisation of no less than 776 orders - Airbus Commercial Aircraft posted another set of impressive full-year figures.

The European aerospace group had been banking on another big order from main client Emirates in November, but the Dubai-based airline decided instead to buy 40 of Boeing's 787 Dreamliners.

Airbus has confirmed that if a deal to sell dozens of its giant A380 airliners to Emirates eventually falls through it will have to stop making them.

Airbus's best-seller by far was the A320 line, versions of which can carry up to 240 passengers, or about half as many as the A380.

But speaking during a briefing on last year's activity, commercial aircraft president Fabrice Bregier says that the airframer has drawn up an "industrially robust" process to take annual production down to just six. Without new orders, it becomes impossible for Airbus and its suppliers, which include Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, GKN Plc and the General Electric Co.

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