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Airbus Beat Boeing In 2014 Order Race

Airbus retained the top spot in commercial plane orders by confirming it outsold Boeing last year, after an unprecedented surge of over 400 orders in December.

Airbus said on Tuesday that it won 1,456 net orders in 2014, down from 1,503 a year earlier but enough to pass Boeing's total of 1,432. Gross orders totalled 1,796, against 1,550 for Boeing, giving Airbus a 54 percent market share.

Airbus delivered 629 aircraft in 2014, up slightly from 626 a year earlier but lagging Boeing's industry high of 723.

Total deliveries by the two plane giants rose 6 percent to 1,352 aircraft, reflecting fleet renewals and the rapid growth of Asia as an aviation hub. But some analysts say demand may have peaked as lower oil prices - although good for most airlines - reveal broader economic concerns.

Deliveries of the A320 family, which generates much of Airbus's cash, slipped to 490 aircraft from 493 a year earlier but trumped deliveries of the Boeing 737 range, ending a deficit seen between January and November.

Airbus said net wide-body orders totalled 135 in 2014, a 60 percent fall on the previous year, and behind Boeing's total of 328 for the year. Airbus was dealt a blow in June when Emirates cancelled an order for 70 A350s.

Airbus delivered 30 A380s, a model whose future direction is uncertain as the company tries to win sales.

"We are confident that the A380's best days lie ahead," Airbus unit head Fabrice Bregier said.

He added that while upgrades to the A380 such as new engines or a stretched version could be considered further down the line, the priority for now was to find customers for the current version.

(Reuters)