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Airbus Holds Slight Lead Over Boeing In 2008 Orders Race

Claims 487 Net Orders Through June

As both planemakers count down the days to the start of the Farnborough International Airshow next week, European manufacturer Airbus will go into the show with a slim lead over its American rival in net orders to date for 2008.

As of June 30, Airbus claimed 487 net orders so far for 2008, reports The Chicago Tribune. That bests Boeing's total by 12 aircraft.

So far, the European planemaker has also held onto the title of world's largest planemaker -- determined by the number of deliveries -- but only by even slimmer margins. Airbus says it delivered 245 aircraft through June, just four more than Boeing reported last week.

Both Boeing and Airbus expect this year's order totals to fall far short of their record 2007 total of a combined 2,754 orders. Airbus expects the 2008 total to be about half that.

While so far both planemakers are tracking slightly better than that guess-timate, demand for large airliners has certainly dwindled in the face of high fuel prices and a slumping global economy, driven by the rapid devaluation of the US dollar.

However, the Farnborough show -- which kicks off July 14 -- is traditionally a strong show for new aircraft orders, with several new announcements... and we may all be surprised yet again. Stay tuned.

FMI: www.airbus.com, www.boeing.com, www.farnborough.com

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