Airbus raises 2013 order target to over 1,000 jets

Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:51am EDT
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By Tim Hepher

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - European jetmaker Airbus EAD.PA has raised its order target for 2013 to more than 1,000 aircraft, compared with a previous goal of over 800, sales chief John Leahy told Reuters on Friday.

The new target puts Airbus on course to beat its 2012 gross order tally of 914 aircraft, Leahy said on the sidelines of an event to mark the 1,000th delivery of an Airbus A330 aircraft.

Airbus is locked in a battle to regain leadership of the $100 billion annual jet market after arch-rival Boeing (BA.N: Quote) grabbed the top spot in both orders and deliveries last year.

So far it is Boeing that is winning this year's order race after reporting 859 gross orders between January 1 and mid-July, compared with an Airbus total of 758 in the first half.

But Airbus has a buffer of more than 100 orders that have been announced but not yet confirmed, and some industry sources say the amount of potential business in the pipeline suggests Airbus could quietly aim for closer to 1,200 orders for 2013.

Boeing has also been hit recently by fresh problems with its new 787 Dreamliner jet, which was grounded earlier this year after the overheating of lithium-ion back-up batteries and was hit earlier this month by a blaze on an aircraft in London.

Driven by emerging markets, commercial aerospace demand has been remarkably strong in the past 2-3 years, providing a haven for investors in a shaky global economy and prompting Airbus parent EADS to consider rebranding itself as Airbus Group.

Leahy said there were around half a dozen major campaigns in progress for the A330 passenger jet, which competes with Boeing's newer 787 Dreamliner for sales of 250-300 seat planes.   Continued...

A Thomas Cook Airbus A330 aircraft taxis across the tarmac at Manchester Airport at Manchester Airport, northern England June 25, 2013. REUTERS/Phil Noble