January 15, 2018 / 9:43 AM / a year ago

Airbus aims to seize jet production crown from Boeing in 2020

FILE PHOTO - The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, in this April 24, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Jim Young/Files

PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus (AIR.PA) is three years away from recovering leadership of the commercial aircraft market by outproducing U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N), its top planemaker predicted on Monday.

Speaking to journalists after posting higher orders and deliveries in 2017, Chief Operating Officer and planemaking president Fabrice Bregier said he was prepared to bet that Airbus would deliver more airplanes than Boeing in 2020 - a feat it last achieved in 2011 - because of a record order backlog.

For 2018, he predicted deliveries would accelerate to reach close to 800 aircraft, up around 11 percent compared with annual gains of 8 percent and 4 percent in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

Airbus delivered 718 jets in 2017, compared with 763 delivered by Boeing.

Bregier also expressed confidence in the ability of engine maker Pratt & Whitney (UTX.N) to keep up with aircraft production plans after overcoming a series of delays.

Reporting by Tim Hepher, Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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