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Airbus outpaces rival Boeing on 2011 plane orders

Christopher Werth Jan 17, 2012

Adriene Hill: The aircraft industry keeps on soaring. European plane-maker Airbus says it won a record number of orders last year — and far more than its American rival, Boeing.

Christopher Werth runs the numbers for us now from London.

Christopher Werth: Airbus checked off orders for over 1,400 new planes in 2011. The company is selling a record number of smaller, short-haul planes. Boeing only tallied up order for around 800 new planes last year.

Joseph Lampel, at the Cass Business School in London, says Boeing has suffered from delays in its new plane models.

Joseph Lampel: Boeing, which has essentially bet on fuel efficiency, and bringing to marker new models, I think has not fared as well, giving Airbus some time to take advantage of the gap to fill a lot of orders, especially in the Far East.

But the difference in the companies’ bottom lines may not be as big as it sounds. The wide-body planes that Boeing is selling bring in a lot more money than the smaller Airbus models.

But 2012 could prove to be a much tougher year for both aircraft-makers. Whether you’re selling smaller or bigger planes, they cost tens of millions of dollars. And with banks holding back lending, airlines will find it much harder to buy new planes, no matter how badly they need them.

In London, I’m Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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