Airbus first in race for business

European planemaker Airbus beat Boeing in the race for new business last year, swelling its total order book to a record $1 trillion, but remained behind on deliveries as Boeing extended its lead as the world's largest jetmaker.

The planemaking division of Airbus Group grabbed 1,036 net plane orders after cancellations, it said on yesterday, down 29 per cent from 2014, compared with Boeing’s tally of 768, a fall of 46 per cent.

Both planemakers experienced a slowdown after two years of heavy orders, and amid concerns over the impact of economic jitters and low oil prices on demand for fuel-saving jets.

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Despite that, deliveries of popular models grew, reflecting industry forecasts of persistent growth in traffic.

Airbus hit a company record of 635 deliveries and predicted over 650 in 2016, with new orders again exceeding deliv- eries.

Boeing said last week its deliveries rose 5 per cent to 762 jets, an industry record.

Combined deliveries came in a whisker below 1,400, having doubled in the past decade, and Airbus planemaking chief Fabrice Bregier said the latest data showed the market was “resilient”.

Airlines “do not expect oil prices to stay low forever”, he said.