Aviation

Airbus delivers 13 percent more planes than Boeing in first quarter

Airbus, the world's largest commercial aircraft producer, delivered 5 percent more planes in the first quarter of 2010 than Boeing, which ended production last year of its biggest jet.

Airbus deliveries rose to 122 from 116 a year earlier, the Toulouse, France-based company said Thursday in a statement. Chicago-based Boeing's delivery of 108 planes in the period through March dropped from 121 a year earlier, when it was working through pent-up demand from a strike at the end of 2008.

Airbus shipped a record 498 planes in 2009 and has said it plans to hand over roughly the same number this year. After cutting production of its single-aisle A320 series in 2008, to 34 a month from 36, Airbus in March said it will boost the figure back to 36 from the end of 2010. Production of its wide-body planes will remain at about eight aircraft a month.

Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., won 60 new orders and didn't have any cancellations in the first three months.

Boeing in January scaled back 2010 delivery plans, saying shipments would fall to 460 to 465 aircraft, compared with 481 in 2009. The company decided last year to cut production starting this June, after the global recession spurred airlines to cancel or defer deliveries.

Through March, Boeing shipped 86 737s, the world's most widely flown plane, as well as 19 777s and three 767s, the company said in a statement. The company had 100 new orders and 17 cancellations through April 6. That compares with a net of four cancellations a year earlier.

Boeing built the last of its largest aircraft, the 747-400, in May 2009 and started work on the 747-8. That plane, a bigger version of the 40-year-old jumbo jet, had its maiden flight in February and won't be delivered to the first customer until the end of this year. The 787 Dreamliner is also being certified and due to enter service in the fourth quarter of this year.

Some deliveries have been delayed while Boeing checks the safety of seats made by Koito Industries Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer that admitted to falsifying some tests.

Boeing sent a team of engineers and quality technicians to Japan in late 2009 to begin verifying flammability and structural examination of the seats before accepting them for Boeing jets, an extra step that has set back the installations, Boeing said in February.

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