Airbus deliveries rose 8 percent, orders outpaced Boeing in 2016

Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:59pm EST
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By Tim Hepher

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - Airbus posted an eight percent rise in deliveries last year, beating its own forecasts by a comfortable margin to set a company record, and pulled off a last-minute surge in orders to beat arch-rival Boeing (BA.N: Quote) in the race for new orders.

But the European planemaker warned of a further slowdown of industry orders in 2017 as the aerospace industry turns its attention to producing what it already has on its order books, following an extended order boom.

Analysts say orders are shrinking due to concerns over weakening economies and relatively low oil prices, while a wave of demand for new fuel-saving models has mainly run its course.

"What kept the orders party going much longer than usual was new product launches and there are few products to be launched," said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of Teal Group.

"These are not hard times. This is merely the party coming to its inevitable end."

Confirming an estimate published by Reuters, Airbus said it had delivered 688 aircraft in 2016, compared with its most recent forecast of 670. Deliveries rebounded sharply at the year-end after problems in the supply chain.

Airbus (AIR.PA: Quote) shares rose 0.4 percent.

Airbus chief operating officer and planemaking president Fabrice Bregier told a news conference he expected more than 700 deliveries in 2017, but without the last-minute frenzy seen last year due to problems in receiving engines and cabin equipment.   Continued...

Airbus Chief Executive Officer Fabrice Bregier (L) and Airbus Chief Operating Officer-Customers John Leahy (R) attend the annual Airbus Commercial Press Briefing in Blagnac, Southwestern France, January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau