European aerospace giant Airbus Group said on Monday it has taken 791 net orders for aircraft in the first nine months of the year, putting it clearly behind its main rival US firm Boeing.
The US group has reported booking 1,000 net orders. Airbus also delivered fewer aircraft, with a total of 443 to 528 for Boeing.
Airbus said that a notable development in September was the conversion of a draft purchase of eight long-haul A330-200 airliners by British IAG airline group into firm orders. The aircraft are destined for IAG’s subsidiary, Iberia of Spain.
In the segment of medium-range airliners, Airbus said that options for 27 standard Airbus A320 aircraft had been turned into firm orders by low-cost operator easyJet.
Most of the orders booked by Airbus so far this year are for the fuel-efficient medium-range aircraft, the A320neo which accounts for 512 orders, followed by 146 orders for A321neo, which is the biggest aircraft in the group’s range of single-aisle planes.
One area where sales are lagging is Airbus’ super jumbo jet. It had set a target of selling 30 A380s this year but it has only sold 14 after the Japanese company Skymark cancelled its order for six A380s.
“It’s up to us to find a way to convince more clients to go with the A380, to consider the size of this plane as an advantage,” said Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier during a press briefing last month.
The A380 is the world’s biggest airliner capable of carrying more than 600 passengers. The company has sold a total of 318 jumbo jets by the end of September, which Bregier has called “satisfactory”.
Airbus is counting on Qatar Airlines being satisfied with the A380 it has purchased and is now testing, which could lead to an order for five more.
The aircraft maker is also looking to its new long-haul A350 plane which received flight certification by EU authorities on September 30.
Designed to help Airbus catch up with Boeing in the market for long-haul, fuel-efficient planes, the A350-900 makes extensive use of light composite materials that reduce fuel consumption and costs.
Airbus has positioned its A350 between the Boeing’s popular 777 and its 787 Dreamliner, hoping to eat away at both planes’ markets.
The European manufacturer last month also raised its market forecasts, saying it sees passenger air travel increasing 4.7 percent annually through 2033, generating a need for 31,400 new aircraft worth $4.6 trillion (3.6 trillion euros).
That is up from its forecast last year of 29,220 aircraft worth $4.4 trillion.
Emerging markets, particularly in Asia, will be the main drivers of growth in the aviation market.