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Wed, Jan 03, 2007

Boeing Sets New Company Sales Record

Planemaker To Top Last Year's Sales By Nearly 40 Orders

Boeing set a new company sales record for jetliners in 2006 with 1,040 firm orders on the year according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Quoting sources close to the matter, the Post-Intelligencer says Boeing beat its 2005 record-setting year by a margin of 38.

Industry observers say this should place the Chicago-based company firmly in the sales-race lead past rival Airbus for the first time in over five years.

Europe's Airbus logged 1,055 net orders for 2005 beating Boeing's 1,002, and retaining the sales lead last year. Problems with that company's highly-touted 500+ passenger A380 Superjumbo has led to shakeups both within and without the company.

Although it will probably never be clear just how badly problems with the A380 program hurt overall sales for Airbus on the whole, it certainly did nothing to hurt sales for Boeing's upcoming 787 Dreamliner program -- the company holds nearly 500 orders for the fuel-efficient, long-haul jets since it was announced in 2004.

For 2006 as in 2005, Boeing's best seller continues to be the 737 family of aircraft. Not counting last-minute deals with Korean Air and Air Berlin, the company logged 619 orders for the venerable single-aisle jet.

Boeing's 737-series aircraft continue to be the most successful jetliner of all time with sales of more than 6,000 over its lifetime.

The battle to claim the sales lead between the two manufacturing giants has raged for years. Both sides have been accused of shenanigans in counting orders.

When Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997 it changed its order charts to include planes sold by its former rival. Boeing has since acknowledged the total for that year may have been based on bad information.

Even with that little bit of obfuscation, Boeing's claimed total sales for the year, 1,107 gross, doesn't beat Airbus' claimed 1,111 gross for 2005. With that total, Airbus says it holds the single-year airliner sales record  for the industry.

But some analysts question Airbus' total for 2005 since it included a last-minute, 150-plane order from China they believe shouldn't have counted until 2006.

Whichever company holds the record for the most sales in a single year, for now it appears the 2006 sales race will go to Boeing.

FMI: www.boeing.com, www.airbus.com

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