Airbus Group SE booked $57 billion worth of deals at this year’s Paris Air Show as it struck commitments for 421 planes, outpacing Boeing Co. ’s intake of 331 jets worth $50.2 billion, according to order tallies from the world’s leading makers of jet planes.
“This is higher than I personally expected,” said Fabrice Brégier, Chief Executive of Airbus’s plane making unit.
The European plane maker confirmed its view that will book orders for more planes than it expects to deliver to customers this year.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes Marketing Vice President Randy Tinseth said the Chicago-based plane maker’s bookings this week also keep it on pace to have about as many orders as deliveries in 2015.
The robust flow of sales deals adds to already bulging order books at Boeing and Airbus, raising the pressure on the companies to ensure they deliver planes on time given the long lead times customers now face.
Growth in demand in air travel in emerging markets—visible in new orders from airlines in Latin America, the Middle East, China, Indonesia and Vietnam—and low interest rates have helped spur new orders for a wide range of planes from lessors and airlines.
Airbus booked enough commitments for its A320 jet which Mr. Brégier said gives the plane maker more confidence to increase the rate at which it is making the single-aisle planes. The manufacturer currently builds 42 of the planes a month and plans to ratchet that up to 50 a month from 2017. A decision to increase further could come this year, Mr. Brégier said.
The strength of demand is also helping Airbus manage production of its A330 widebody jetliner which it is revamping with new engines in a version expected to come into service late in 2017. Airbus reduced output of the original A330s to 6 from 10 planes a month but acknowledges it might cut too much.
“If we can deliver a couple of aircraft on top we won’t hesitate to do that,” Mr. Brégier said. Keeping production of the A330 high is important to Airbus profits given development costs were sunk some time ago.
Chinese and Indian airlines are prospective buyers of the A330-300 “Regional,” a version of the long-range jet introduced this week for use on short routes with about 400 seats. Saudi Arabian Airlines bought 20 of the planes. Airbus took orders for a total of 34 of the widebody jets.
John Leahy, the plane maker’s head of sales, said he is in advanced talks with several potential buyers of the A380 superjumbo that has sold poorly beyond the customers lined up at its launch. At least one deal, maybe more, will be completed by year-end. New customers are among the group of prospects, he said.
Airbus kicked off the final business day of the aerospace extravaganza with a 110-plane deal with Wizz Air, an East European discount airline which is buying A321neo single-aisle jets. The deal also includes purchase rights for 90 more of the new single-aisle jets, said airline Chief Executive Joszef Varadi said here.
“We are paving the way for the next phase of growth for the business,” he said. The planes are due for delivery from 2019 through 2024, Mr. Varadi said.