TOULOUSE (AFP) - European aircraft maker Airbus beat US rival Boeing with record sales and orders last year but came second in terms of finished airliners delivered, figures from the company showed on Monday.
Airbus said that in 2013 it took 1,503 net orders, allowing for cancellations. This compares with 1,355 orders taken by Boeing. Total orders taken by Airbus is a record for the whole industry.
Airbus also said that at the end of last year it had record orders to build 5,559 aircraft, equivalent to eight years of production. Results published by Boeing on January 6 showed that the US firm had a total order book for 5,080 aircraft.
However, last year Airbus delivered 626 planes, far behind Boeing which delivered 648 aircraft.
In 2012, Boeing had beaten Airbus in terms of orders and deliveries.
The chief executive of Airbus, Fabrice Bregier, said that the company was considering increasing production of its best-selling plane, the Airbus A320 which is popular with low-cost airlines, to satisfy global demand for medium-range aircraft.
"If the market remains positive, if the customer needs more aircraft, I think we would be silly not to ramp up again," he told journalists shortly before the company published its annual results.
Airbus is producing 42 A320 aircraft per month and had said that it did not want to increase this rate of production until it had converted to producing the latest, more fuel-efficient version, the A320neo.
"We believe there is a potential to go higher than (the) rate 42. There is an upside and we are studying it. Some upside that we will confirm in the coming months," Bregier said.
"I would like to ramp up but be in a position to remain steady," he said.
After 2018, "when we have moved to the neo aircraft, we know that we will ramp up again, whatever we do now or not, we know that we will ramp up again".
Airbus won orders for 377 A320 planes last year and has taken more than 1,000 orders since it announced at the end of 2010 the launch of the A320neo.