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Airbus Gains Head Start in 2015 on Orders, Boeing Beats on Deliveries

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Airbus reported a roughly $11 billion (7 billion pounds) preliminary order from Colombian airline group Avianca Holdings on Thursday, gaining a head start in its 2015 order race with U.S. rival Boeing subject to a final confirmation of the deal.

The memorandum of understanding for 100 A320neo-family jets is worth $10.6 billion at list prices based on the main model of the three-member Airbus narrow-body family of aircraft. Avianca Holdings controls Avianca-Taca, which was formed from the merger of Colombian carrier Avianca and El Salvador’s Taca in 2010. The draft deal emerged after Airbus and Boeing tied in a quiet month of January with 5 new orders apiece, though Boeing also got a cancellation for one of its 787 Dreamliners.

Airbus said it had won five firm orders in the month for the current version of its A330 aircraft, helping plug a potential gap in production as it works on a revamped version of the wide-body jet to enter service in 2017. It said the order for five A330-200s, worth $1.1 billion at list prices, came from a new customer that it did not identify.

Boeing posted five orders worth $500 million at list prices from All Nippon Airways for the current version of its 737 series, another aircraft in the process of being revamped. After delivering five A330s in January, Airbus now has a backlog of 193 of the wide-body A330 including freighters. It is under pressure to find new sales to support production of the 20-year-old current version of the wide-body jet, which faces competition from Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.

Fabrice Bregier, chief executive of Airbus Group’s main planemaking business, said this month he expected more A330 orders soon but not enough to avoid lower production after 2015. Airbus produces 10 A330s a month and plans to trim this to nine in the fourth quarter. Analysts believe it could have to cut to as few as six a month.


Boeing delivered 49 commercial aircraft in January, leading rival Airbus’ 36 deliveries for the month (including one A380 to Dubai’s Emirates).

Boeing’s January deliveries included four aircraft to Dutch lessor AerCap (three 737-800s and a 787-8 Dreamliner); three aircraft each to American Airlines (two 737-800s and a 787-8 Dreamliner) and Indonesia’s Lion Air (two 737-800s and a 737-900ER); and two aircraft each to Air China (two 737-800s), Delta Air Lines (two 737-900ERs), FedEx (two 767-300 Freighters), lessor GECAS (a 737-800 and a 777-300ER), Chinese carriers Hainan Airlines (two 737-800s) and Shandong Airlines (two 737-800s), Southwest Airlines (two 737-800s), TUI Travel PLC (now known as TUI Group, which received a 737-800 and a 787-8 Dreamliner) and United Airlines (two 737-900ERs).

787-8 Dreamliners were also delivered to Air Canada, Japan Airlines and Qantas, which each took one of the aircraft; a 787-9 model was delivered to Singapore-based low-cost-carrier Scoot.

Airbus’ January deliveries included three aircraft to China Eastern Airlines (two A319ceos and an A330-300) and two aircraft each to AirAsia/Thai AirAsia (two A320ceos), American Airlines (two A319ceos), China Southern Airlines (an A321ceo and an A330-300), GECAS (two A321ceos, one each for Thomas Cook Scandinavia and Juneyao Airlines), Chinese lessor ICBC (two A320ceos bound for Spring Airlines), Lufthansa Passenger Airlines (an A320ceo and an A321ceo), Spirit Airlines (two A320ceos) and US Airways (two A321ceos). Additionally, Emirates took delivery of an A380 on Jan. 30.

The European planemaker beat U.S. rival Boeing in orders last year after a surge of new business in December, but remained behind in deliveries for a third year.


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