European-aircraft maker Airbus, coming off record sales last year, said Wednesday it is rising the average catalog price of its commercial airplanes by 3.9 percent.
Delivering 534 commercial jets to 88 customers worldwide and booking 1,419 net orders, 2011 was the most successful year for Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co NV. closed off a decade's worth of continuous production increases, the company said.
Last year's deliveries not only beat Airbus' previous record set in 2010 by 24 planes, but it bested the results of arch-rival Boeing, which landed 805 net orders in 2011.
Airbus' record order intake is the result of our strategic decision for A320neo. With this innovation we established a new industry standard, appreciated by our customers and followed by the competition, CEO Tom Enders said in a statement.
Airbus made headlines in recent years for introducing the A380 double-decker goliath of a plane, but the company is better known for its smaller, shorter single-aisle and most successful plane the A320. Now the company is revamping that model to make it more energy efficient.
The redesigned A320neo comprised 1,348 of the company's net orders last year. Airbus has a backlog of 4,437 plane orders for about $588 billion over the next seven to eight years and plans on hiring 4,000 skilled workers by 2012 to meet the demand.
Boeing, by comparison, has a backlog of 3,771 planes, reported the Wall Street Journal.
But Boeing, although out-sold by its rival, actually made more money from its plane sales. Though the company only sold 477 planes last year, the Seattle Times reported the U.S. based company made $33 billion compared to $32 billion by Airbus.
According to the newspaper's analysis, the U.S. plane manufacturer is also selling more expensive planes, and trails just below Airbus in the value of the planes sold last year -- $66 billion and $70 billion, respectively.
European debt and budget crises are also expected to work to Boeing's favor, as airliners and Europeans banks could find it increasingly difficult to finance plane orders.
Speaking to the Seattle Times, Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst with the Teal Group suggested 2012 could be Boeing's year.
One guy got all the orders in 2011, Aboulafia said. The other guy will get them in 2012.
In European trading, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, of which Airbus is a subsidiary, was up 6 cents or .23 percent, trading at €25.85.
Boeing in morning trading, was down nine cents or .12 percent, trading at $75.18.