Airbus posted a 43 percent drop in orders and surrendered its crown as the world's largest planemaker to Boeing last year, but predicted improvements in both orders and deliveries for 2013 at its annual presentation in Toulouse on Thursday (January 17).
Airbus and Boeing compete fiercely for control of the $100 billion jetliner market. In footage filmed ahead of the company's annual presentation, Airbus president Fabrice Bregier said that despite losing out on market share in 2012, orders had soared.
"Regarding our order book we now have over seven years of production. It's the biggest order book in the industry. We have 914 gross orders this year and our best selling aircraft the A320 Neo enjoys 62 percent market share with 1700 net orders so I think it was an excellent year all in all for Airbus," he said.
The European company had already conceded defeat as Boeing caught up with demand for revamped narrow body jets in 2012, following a record lead by Airbus in the previous year. Gross orders stood well ahead of the company's 2012 target of 650 jets but comparison with Boeing's comparable figure of 1,339 new aircraft gives Airbus a market share of 41 percent. Boeing led on net orders with 921 aircraft.
Bregier said Airbus remained 'successful around the world' and would be hiring another 3000 people in the coming year, mainly in Europe.
The company also said it remained confident of achieving the maiden flight of its A350 carbon-composite airliner by mid-year. U.S. rival Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner was recently grounded by U.S. authorities, citing a potential battery fire risk.