Airbus on track to beat Boeing 9th year in a row

Dec 28, 2011

NORMANDY, France – Boeing rival Airbus is set to finish 2011 with a record number of aircraft orders, beating out Boeing for the ninth year in a row.

But analysts say Boeing is poised to gain ground against its European competitor in 2012. That's because of a new product that will be built in Puget Sound.

Airbus is expected to end the year with more than 1,600 aircraft orders, compared with just over 900 for Boeing. That'll give Boeing its lowest market share ever against the Toulouse-based Airbus.

Airbus' surge is due in large part to the popularity of its revamped A-3-20 neo jet. The updated version of Airbus' workhorse model features new energy-efficient engines that promise 15 percent fuel savings. Boeing waited to see if the market responded to that idea before jumping in with its own version, the re-worked 737 MAX.

Analysts say Boeing's delay let Airbus get a jump on that lucrative market. But the new product is picking up speed and is expected to boost the American planemaker in the coming year.

Boeing recently committed to building the 7-37 MAX in the Puget Sound area as part of a new contract with its machinists' union.