Airbus delivers record number of planes

A350 Image copyright Getty Images

Airbus delivered a record number of planes in 2015 but failed to dethrone Boeing as the world's biggest aircraft manufacturer.

The European company delivered a record 635 planes last year, compared with a tally of 762 jets for Boeing.

However, Airbus said it had 1,036 orders after cancellations, compared with 768 for the US company.

The number of orders fell by 29% and 46% respectively following two years of strong growth.

Airbus delivered 491 jets from the A320 family, 103 A330s, 27 A380 super-jumbos, and 14 A350 XWB planes.

Airbus hopes to deliver more than 650 planes this year, with the wide-body A350 expected to help it close the gap.

The company missed its target for 15 deliveries of the A350 in 2015 by one plane following shortages in cabin equipment. At least 50 planes are expected to be delivered this year.

Despite signs that demand for aircraft was slowing, Airbus remained upbeat about the health of the aviation industry.

A380 order

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently lowered its long-term forecast for air traffic, and warned that low oil prices have hurt the economies of emerging markets such as Russia and Brazil.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier (left) and chief salesman, John Leahy

Airbus announced a late firm order for three A380s - the first sale for the 500-seater plane for the whole of 2015. The buyer is thought to be Japanese airline ANA.

Chief salesman John Leahy said the A380 was "still very important'' despite poor sales.

He blamed US engine maker Pratt & Whitney for a delay in the first delivery of the new A320neo.

Airbus opened its first US factory in Alabama in September and will open a second facility in China in Tianjin next month.

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