Airbus Pumps Out Record Number of Jets, Joins Boeing in Production Scramble

Airbus delivered record number of planes in 2017

Sales director John Leahy said Airbus would have to halt the programme if the plane's main customer, Dubai's Emirates airline, did not place another order. The Toulouse-based manufacturer hasn't sold an A380 in over two years and the aircraft lacks a secondary market.

The company delivered a record 718 new commercial jets and booked 1,109 net new orders for the year.

Leahy said the Dubai-based, government-owned airline is "the only one who has the ability" to commit to a minimum of six planes a year for a minimum of eight to 10 years, the production timetable Airbus needs to make the program viable.

Mr Bregier said Airbus will speed up production in the coming year, notably of its long-delayed widebody A350, and hopes to out-deliver Boeing by 2020. That was higher than the 912 orders Boeing took during the same period. "If people want to fly, they need to fly in bigger aircraft", he insists.

Following another "miraculous" December - which saw 127 deliveries and the finalisation of no less than 776 orders - Airbus Commercial Aircraft posted another set of impressive full-year figures.

"It's a strong market and it's recovering".

However, sales of the four-engined plane have been slow as airliners opt for twin-engine aircraft which are cheaper and easier to run.

Airbus has confirmed that if a deal to sell dozens of its giant A380 airliners to Emirates eventually falls through it will have to stop making them.

"Every 15 years, air traffic doubles", he said.

Airbus throughout 2017 struggled with supplier problems that slowed deliveries and raised questions over whether the company could meet targets.

Fifteen A380s were made in 2017 but next year only eight are due to be built.

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. At the end of 2017 Airbus' overall backlog stood at 7,265 aircraft valued at slightly more than $1 trillion at list prices.

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