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Aircraft giants meet declining orders
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Though Airbus managed to garner the 52 percent of the share of orders during the first six months of this year, overall orders for Airbus and Boeing fell by nearly 100 compared to the same period last year, it was learned on Monday.

Though fall is widely expected with the soaring oil price, Airbus takes it as a normal fluctuation, considering that both aircraft manufacturers chalked a record order in 2006.

The aircraft-making industry does feel the pressure from the market, but the oil market is a double-edged sword -- while oil- consuming countries feel the squeeze of the rising oil price, oil- producing country harvest huge windfall from the price hike, said Laurence Barron, president of Airbus China at the Farnborgough Air Show.

The once-even backlog of the two manufacturers now clearly favors Airbus. The European manufacturer has a backlog of 1,714 aircraft as of June 30, compared to Boeing's 1,481, according to data collected by Aircraft Value News (AVN).

The first six months saw a seesaw-like model in terms of orders and deliveries for the two aircraft makers: Airbus realized 299 orders over Boeing's 180, while the former delivered 162 against the latter's 263, the report said.

AVN added that higher delivery rates may be of comfort only if the backlog advantage can be maintained.

It is said that Airbus has a backlog of 1,714, while Boeing has 1,481.

The most significant change in the first half orderbook lay in the number of cancellations. Both manufacturers recorded a similar number -- Airbus 49 and Boeing 48. The net order totals were therefore 250 and 132 respectively, Aircraft Value News said.

With both manufacturers so keenly focused on shareholder enhancement, both may be reluctant to announce actual cancellations, according to AVN analysis. If the downturn continues to result in further changes to existing orders, the number of "deferrals, reschedules, restructures, and delivery optimizations" can be expected to obscure the real level of cancellations, it said.

Barron said, however, that the cancellations happened to Airbus is normal as seen in other times and many of the cancellations are a results of customers' transfer of order into more up-to-date models.

(Xinhua News Agency July 15, 2008)

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