By Benjamin Katz


Airbus SE delivered more aircraft than it had planned last year, setting it up to retain the title of world's biggest commercial planemaker when rival Boeing Co. publishes its figures on Tuesday.

The European company said it delivered some 611 commercial aircraft in 2021, ahead of its goal to hand over 600 jets to customers. Boeing had handed over 302 aircraft to customers through November with analysts forecasting around 337 deliveries for the full year.

While the tally marks an 8% increase over 2020, it's still Airbus's lowest total since 2012 as the planemaker works to recover its build rates after slashing production in response to the pandemic.

It's the third consecutive year that Airbus has surpassed Boeing in the annual race to deliver aircraft, with Boeing hobbled since the two crashes of its best-selling 737 MAX grounded the jet and halted production.

While Boeing was able to restart deliveries of the narrowbody model in December 2020 its been at a much slower rate than at Airbus, which has outlined a much more aggressive recovery plan to return to pre-Covid production levels. The U.S. airframer has also been battling production issues on its 787 widebody which has held back deliveries over the last year.

Airbus also doubled its gross orders from 2020 with a total of 771 new sales, which it said was a sign that the recovery in air travel is taking hold.

"The year saw significant orders from airlines worldwide, signaling confidence in the sustainable growth of air travel post-covid," Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in a statement. "While uncertainties remain, we are on track to lift production through 2022 to meet our customers' requirements."


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 10, 2022 12:52 ET (17:52 GMT)

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