(MENAFN - AFP) European group Airbus lost its top spot as the world's biggest maker of airliners to the US giant Boeing last year, but did better than expected and sees big sales this year, it said on Thursday.
Publishing results just as Boeing is hit by a crisis of confidence in its Dreamliner plane after a series of incidents, Airbus said that last year it delivered 588 aircraft to 89 customers, a record after 534 deliveries in 2011.
But sales of the flagship superjumbo A380, the biggest airliner in the world, disappointed, coming in at about one third of the target figure after a problem was discovered with the wings which the company says is now behind it.
Airbus sold a total of 833 aircraft last year, far more than the initial target figure of 650, chief executive Fabrice Bregier told a press conference near where Airbus is based at Toulouse, southern France.
However, the sales figure was far lower than the record of 1,419 sales in 2011.
For this year, Airbus expects to take 700 orders, excluding any cancellations, and to deliver more than 600 planes.
The order book now totals 4,682 planes representing about eight years of production work.
Airbus said it hoped that its new long-range A350 aircraft would make its maiden flight at the end of June or beginning of July.
Referring to the A350, Bregier said: "We have made reasonably good progress but I will keep cautious until the end."