Paris, January 18:

Airbus capped a record year for the global aviation industry and itself yesterday by claiming that it had just outsold Boeing with 1,055 new orders and delivered more aircraft than its US rival in 2005.

Boeing, which won 1,002 net orders last year, thought it had pipped Airbus for the first time in five years but the European manufacturer saw a final surge in December, when it booked 40 per cent of its orders, giving it 52 per cent of a market of 2,057 — the highest for 16 years and proof of a full recovery since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Airbus expects to deliver more than 400 planes in 2006. It said it beat Boeing in deliveries for the third year in a row, by 378 to 290 for its American competitor. The European aerospace group owns 80 per cent of Airb-us, with BAE Systems ow-ning the rest, and both derive substantial profits from the plane-maker. Airbus’s turnover was a record 22.3 billion euro — up by 10 per cent. Last year, Airbus’s pre-tax margin rose above 10 per cent for the first time, fro-m 9.4 per cent in 2004. It completed a 1.5 billion euro cost-cutting progra-mme last year and plans further cuts as it steps up production of single-aisle planes to 32 a month.

About 30 per cent of Ai-rbus orders are destined for China and India, and in the next two weeks the company is aiming to ch-oose a site for a final assembly line in China. The greenfield site, expected to be approved by China, would initially assemble four aircraft a month and start production in 2008.