Airbus Finalizes USD$10 Billion Etihad Deal

December 8, 2008

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Airbus reported orders for 84 aircraft in November including completion of the largest civil aircraft deal of the year, a 51-plane order from Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways worth over USD$10 billion.

The tally brought gross 2008 aircraft orders to 878, Airbus said in a statement.

Three orders were cancelled in November, bringing total cancellations for the year to 122 and leaving the net total of aircraft sold at 756, down sharply from last year.

Airbus has said it is targeting 850 plane sales in 2008.

Boeing, which also won a 45-plane order from Etihad this year, has reported 646 gross orders and 640 net orders for 2008 as of December 2.

The Etihad order includes 6 A380 superjumbos and 25 A350s, designed to compete with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. The airline also ordered 20 single-aisle A320 aircraft.

It is seen as part of an industrial deal with Abu Dhabi sovereign fund Mubadala Development that will see Airbus produce some lightweight composite parts in the emirate.

The order was first announced at the Farnborough air show in July, but there were months of uncertainty over whether it would be finalized amid industry speculation that Etihad may be forced to merge with Dubai-based Emirates due to the financial crisis.

The order was finally confirmed last week and made it into the official Airbus backlog.

Airbus also said it had delivered 46 planes in November, bringing deliveries so far this year to 437.

Parent EADS has targeted 470 Airbus deliveries in 2008.

(Reuters)