Airbus wins 2017 order race after last-minute sales spree

Airbus wins 2017 order race after last-minute sales spree

"Quite honestly...if we can't work out a deal with Emirates, there is no choice but to shut down the programme", Airbus' outgoing chief salesman John Leahy told reporters via web cast on Monday.

He said talks with Emirates were ongoing and that he was hopeful a deal would be worked out.

Boeing Co. and Airbus SE both built more jets previous year than ever, but not enough to lessen their backlogs and ease supply-line strain as orders boom.

Airbus has said it will have no other choice but to halt the costly A380 programme if Emirates does not place another order.

Emirates, the government-owned, Dubai-based long-haul carrier, declined to immediately comment.

Airbus shares were trading lower, Monday, despite the news that the plane maker had delivered the most planes on record and also pulled in more new orders than its rival Boeing. In fact, orders for two planes were canceled. The company has delivered over 200 of the double-decker aircraft, with 95 still on its order book, far below the 1,200 it expected when the aircraft was introduced in 2005. The company said it had a backlog of orders worth US$1.1 billion.

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Deliveries were dominated by the single-aisle A320, with a total of 558 in 2017 as Airbus moves toward production of 60 planes a month across its assembly lines.

Leahy, the Airbus chief operating officer, said on Monday that the A380's best days were ahead.

Leahy said he is convinced that larger aircraft still have a future, because airlines will need bigger planes as demand for air travel grows. The business said not only was that a new industry record, but it was the sixth consecutive year which Boeing has delivered the most planes over a calendar year. "This is an aeroplane whose time will come".

At the moment Airbus says it plans to make just eight a year, the minimum to ensuring production of the airliner breaks even.

"But there are other potential customers beyond Emirates".

"They are probably the only one who has the ability right now", Leahy said.

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