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Wed, Mar 15, 2006

Airbus May Cut A340 Production

Losing Ground To B777

Citing a wide discrepancy in orders last year of Airbus A340 against its Boeing 777 competition, an executive with the European Aeronautic Defense and Space company said Airbus is considering cutting production of the widebody jet.

"It could be," EADS co-Chief Executive Tom Enders said at a Monday news conference, when he was asked whether A340 output would be reduced. "It's too early to say. We don't panic because we had a bad year."

Although Airbus claimed the sales record yet again for 2005 with 1,055 net orders -- beating Boeing by 53 -- the A340 (photos, above and below) was not a significant contributor to the total.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports only 15 A340s were ordered last year, compared to 155 777s -- allowing Boeing to claim 55 percent of the profitable widebody market for 2005, on its way to a still-respectable 1,002 net order total.

The Boeing jet's twin-engine configuration and better fuel efficiency are seen as major advantages over the four-engine A340.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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