In the battle for commercial aircraft supremacy, Airbus has beaten Boeing for the ninth year running with a record number of orders in 2011. The European aviation giant beat its American rival by selling nearly double the amount of aircraft.
In what was the most successful year in the company's history, Airbus delivered a record 534 planes to 88 customers and booked 1,419 orders in total. Completed orders included 421 single aisle aircraft, 87 from its A330 Family and 26 A380 models.
Growth was fuelled by continued growth in emerging markets, specifically Asia Pacific which accounted for more than 30 percent of orders. The success of the Airbus' fuel efficient A320neo also positioned the company ahead of Boeing and its alternative, the 737 MAX.
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"Airbus' record order intake is the result of our strategic decision for A320neo. With this innovation we established a new industry standard, appreciated by our customers and followed by the competition,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. "With a solid backlog and an excellent cash position we are well prepared for the future.”
In order to meet customer demand, Airbus ramped up production for the tenth year in a row and hired 4,500 new employees, increasing its active workforce to 55,000.
Over the next 12 months, Airbus plans to initiate another employment drive and will be highly dependent on suppliers and its own capacity.
Enders added: “The continuous ramp-up to unprecedented production rates in all programmes will demand a strong focus on the supply chain and our own delivery capabilities. The hiring of more than 4,000 skilled people in 2012 will further support achieving this goal.”