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Originally published Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM


Boeing still No. 1 jet maker

For the second year in a row, Boeing topped Airbus in 2007 in both orders and the dollar value of deliveries. Boeing sold 72 more planes...

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

For the second year in a row, Boeing topped Airbus in 2007 in both orders and the dollar value of deliveries.

Boeing sold 72 more planes than its rival Airbus last year. And though Airbus delivered a dozen more airplanes, Boeing's deliveries included many more of the expensive wide-bodies, so it came out ahead on the total value of airplanes delivered.

Boeing's Puget Sound-area factories last year rolled out airplanes with an estimated actual value of almost $30 billion compared with $24 billion from the Airbus plants in Toulouse, France.

The actual value of deliveries is a Seattle Times calculation based on market data from aircraft-valuation firm Avitas.

By that reckoning, Boeing can definitively claim to have won back the title of the world's No. 1 airplane maker.

Airbus released its 2007 production and order data Wednesday, a couple of weeks after Boeing had given its year-end tallies.

The European plane maker won 1,341 net orders vs. 1,413 for Boeing. Airbus gave the list-price value of those orders as $157 billion. At list prices, the Boeing orders were valued at $171 billion.

The actual value is much less, because airlines typically get large discounts. The estimated actual value of Boeing's orders, using Avitas data, is about $105 billion.

Because Airbus did not provide any detail on the 117 orders that were canceled during the year, it was not possible to calculate the estimated actual value for its net-order total.

Both companies set all-time order records in 2007.

"These are enormous numbers," said Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders at a briefing in Toulouse. "Now it becomes a question of how we manage the backlog."

Boeing said the Airbus figures reflected a "spectacular year" in 2007 for both manufacturers.


"Looking at their order book and ours, we both did really well," said Randy Tinseth, Boeing's marketing chief, in a Seattle interview.

Airbus delivered 453 aircraft, 19 more than the year before and 12 more than Boeing's 441.

But among large wide-body aircraft, Boeing outdelivered Airbus 111 to 86. In the biggest jet categories, Airbus delivered just one A380 superjumbo and 11 large A340s. Boeing, in contrast, delivered 16 of its 747 jumbos and 83 large 777s.

The result is Boeing's deliveries were worth much more in total dollar value.

Boeing delivered planes worth $49.7 billion at list prices, or an estimated $29.5 billion using Avitas market valuations. The Airbus deliveries were worth $42.3 billion at list prices, or an estimated $23.9 billion using Avitas figures.

Enders said Airbus aims to deliver more than 470 planes this year.

With the first deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner now delayed until early 2009, that may be enough to prevent Boeing from leading in absolute numbers of jets delivered for the first time since 2003.

Airbus' orders mask production woes at the company, which is cutting 10,000 jobs and has said it will report a loss for 2007, hurt by delays to its airliners and the A400M military transport plane.

Airbus had a 572 million-euro loss in 2006 compared with a profit of $3.81 billion at Boeing. Parent European Aeronautic, Defence & Space expects to do no better than break even for last year in terms of earnings before interest and tax when it posts results in March.

"What matters is how solid the pricing regime is, and there Airbus is playing catch-up with Boeing, which is so far ahead," Arran Aerospace's Doug McVitie said. Airlines commonly receive discounts of 20 to 30 percent on orders for commercial passenger planes, particularly in the initial delivery months.

Enders said pricing was stronger last year than in 2006 but gave no details.

Bloomberg News provided the Airbus and Boeing quotes in this story.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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