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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Airbus wins 2017 order race after last-minute sales spree

From Reuters - January 15, 2018

PARIS (Reuters) - Frenetic selling in the closing weeks of 2017 saw Airbus (AIR.PA) overhaul Boeings (BA.N) recent lead in the global jet market to win their annual order contest for the fifth year running, but doubts remain over the future of its flagship A380.

The European planemaker said on Monday net orders after cancellations rose 52 percent to 1,109 aircraft in 2017, placing it ahead of Boeings 912 net orders. Airbus posted 1,229 gross or unadjusted orders compared with Boeings 1,053.

Airbus confirmed it had met its core 2017 target of more than 700 deliveries by releasing 718 jets to customers in 2017, up 4 percent from the previous year despite industrial delays.

Boeing remained the worlds largest jetmaker for the sixth year running with a record total of 763 deliveries.

Planemaking chief Fabrice Bregier said engine supplier Pratt & Whitney (UTX.N) had turned the corner on delays that had disrupted single-aisle aircraft output, and predicted close to 800 deliveries in 2018.

He predicted that a record backlog of more than 7,000 aircraft, now on order and waiting to be built, would allow Airbus to lift deliveries beyond those of Boeing in 2020.

Boeing has questioned whether all of the airplanes sold by its competitor will be delivered due to speculative business.

Decembers sales breakthrough focused mainly on the bread and butter of Airbuss portfolio, the medium-haul A320 family, which competes with Boeings best-selling 737 series.

Some industry sources have questioned whether Airbus was forced to slash prices in order to bring in the record harvest of more than 800 orders in December, which included the sale of 430 jets via one U.S. investor.

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