Aircraft market 'set to cool in 2008'

Airbus said this week it expects the market for aircraft to cool and new orders to halve to 700 in 2008 after years of strong demand from airlines took its order book to a record 3,600 planes.

Toulouse-based Airbus, owned by European aerospace group EADS, received orders for 1,341 aircraft in 2007, but fell behind US rival Boeing, which had 1,413.

Airbus chief salesman John Leahy said at the Singapore Airshow that the aircraft maker had sold out for the next five years, but he added that the market was now "cooling down a little bit".

Airbus said it was carefully studying delays for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, delivery of which has been repeatedly postponed, but did not foresee the same problem with its new A350 aircraft, which competes directly with the 787 and is due to be delivered in the middle of the next decade.

The first 787 is now due for delivery early next year after a delay of nine months. Despite the delays to the Dreamliner, Boeing unveiled more than $6bn in orders for other planes.

Meanwhile, aerospace group BAE Systems said profits last year rose by 44 per cent to £1.2bn, boosted by strong sales at its US subsidiary, Armor Holdings. The company said it expected another good year in 2008.

Image: Airbus chief Tom Enders unveils order figures in Singapore

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