Airbus Beats Boeing Again

The European airplane maker gets more orders than its U.S. rival in 2005.
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Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

had a record year in 2005, but it wasn't enough to unseat

Airbus

as the world's top seller of commercial airplanes.

As has been the case each year since 2001, Airbus collected more orders than its Chicago-based rival. Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, booked 1,111 new gross orders, valued at $95.9 billion, and 1,055 net orders in 2005.

Airbus had recorded 687 bookings for its planes through the end of November, a number that suggested Boeing had a good chance of winning the year, but the U.S. company's order total didn't hold up.

Overall, Airbus said its orders included 918 A320s, 166 A330s, A340s and A350s, 20 A380s and seven A300 freighters. The previous record year for Airbus was 1998, when it booked 556 new orders. The company said in a statement on its Web site that it delivered 378 planes last year.

Boeing said earlier this month that it had 1,002 net commercial airplane orders last year, setting a company record for a single 12-month period and marking nearly a fourfold increase from 2004. Gross orders, which exclude cancellations and conversions, reached 1,029 last year.

Throughout the year, the companies waged a fierce battle for customers. Both signed numerous orders overseas as U.S. airlines struggled to keep a lid on their costs. The troubles for domestic carriers were headlined by the bankruptcy filings of

Delta

(DALRQ)

and

Northwest

(NWACQ)

.

Airbus is a joint venture owned by the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. and

BAE Systems

.

Shares of Boeing were lower by 40 cents at $69.08.