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Airbus November Order Total 248, Lags Boeing

Airbus sold 248 aircraft in November, with total orders between January and November sitting at 1,328, or 1,031 net orders.

Airbus has delivered delivered 554 so far in 2014.

November's Airbus sales included a total of 120 A320-family aircraft to three unidentified customers.

However CIT Leasing cancelled an order for one of 15 new-generation A350-900s as it finalised an order for 15 upgraded A330neos.

Airbus remains behind Boeing in what could be a tight finish to their annual order race.

On Thursday, Boeing reported 1,380 orders between January 1 and December 2, including 100 737 MAX confirmed by Ryanair. Net orders stood at 1,274 aircraft.

Boeing delivered 647 aircraft in the first 11 months.

The two plane makers are heading towards a stronger than expected order intake for 2014, as airlines seek the fuel savings offered by more efficient models.

Airbus, which is already above its net order target for 2014, has a further 500 provisional orders announced but not yet finalised. Some of these typically get booked in December.

Boeing looks set to top 1,300 net orders for a second year running, exceeding an internal target of 1,100 and reaching what had seemed a stretching scenario just a few months ago.

Airbus said its waiting list of aircraft sold but not yet delivered had risen above 6,000 units for the first time.

Both firms use overbooking to guarantee a taker for each aircraft produced, mimicking the technique used by airlines to fill seats, meaning some unfilled orders will trickle away.

In a sign of previous overbooking, industry sources say Airbus has been pushing buyers of the current-generation A320 to upgrade to the newer A320neo so that it can halt production of the older model in 2018, as planned, and contain costs.

Completing the switch on time while ramping up the A350 are seen as crucial to its margin goals.

In November, JetBlue converted an order for 10 A321s to the A321neo.

The tally included the first firm orders for the upgraded A330neo but left unresolved questions over a gap in orders for the current version, which has already seen a production cut.

Airbus has said it is negotiating a potential deal with China, but analysts say assuring smooth cash generation from the A330 remains one of its key challenges in the next two years.

(Reuters)