Airbus soars with record order book but backlog causes drag

Joseph Millis
The Airbus 380 – the world’s biggest passenger aircraft
AIRBUS yesterday announced that it had a record order book – but had to concede that due to a backlog it was lagging behind rival Boeing in deliveries.

The European aircraft maker delivered a company record of 629 planes in 2014, up slightly from 626 in 2013, but behind its US rival’s industry high of 723. Yet it has more than 6,330 planes on its order book, and is struggling to catch up with the backlog.

However, John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, told the BBC that the company would “ramp up” production over the next few years, and he hopes to overtake Boeing in the near future.

The European company came out ahead on orders, signing a net 1,456 contracts versus 1,432 for its rival.

It aims to deliver slightly more aircraft this year, Airbus unit head Fabrice Bregier told a news conference.

Total deliveries by the two plane giants rose six per cent to a record 1,352 aircraft, reflecting fleet renewals and the rapid growth of Asia as an aviation hub.

But some analysts say demand may have peaked as plummeting oil prices – although good for most airlines – reveal broader concerns.

Meanwhile, Airbus announced that it would equip its long-haul jets with floatable, ejectable black boxes, making them easier to find in an air crash at sea.

This follows the crash last month of an AirAsia A320 in the Java Sea, in which all 162 passengers and crew died.

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