Airbus orders outpace Boeing in 2016, deliveries soar

Airbus posts an eight per cent rise in deliveries for 2016, and cuts A380 jumbo jet production over lack of demand.

EUROPE (REUTERS) - The race for new aircraft orders in 2016 has ended with Airbus beating Boeing.

It posted 731 new orders - 63 more than the world's biggest aircraft manufacturer.

The European plane maker also enjoyed an eight per cent rise in deliveries for the year.

It beat its own forecasts, although Boeing still won that race with 748.

Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier said, "We have delivered 688 aircraft, which is a new Airbus record, last year was 635 if I remember well. It is another year of growth, we enjoyed 14 consecutive years of production increase."

The surge in Airbus orders included a large deal with Iran, which has been on a spending spree after the lifting of sanctions.

But there was one down-side - Airbus is planning to cut its A380 output from next year after demand fell.

Airbus COO John Leah said, "What's interesting is traffic is doubling every fifteen years and they're not going to build another Heathrow, they're not going to build another Charles-de-Gaulle or JFK. This aeroplane will start dominating the market at least at those 90 percent of long-haul passengers who fly through 55 cities today."

Confident talk - but the A380 program took another blow in late December.

Emirates delayed some 2017 deliveries because of pressure from the impact of low oil prices.

That could put the double-decker back into a loss, marring celebrations for its 10 years in service.