European plane manufacturer Airbus - a major source of work for aerospace component manufacturers in the West Midlands - has pipped American arch-rival Boeing in terms of aircraft orders for 2005.
Airbus, whose plane wings are made in the UK, received 1,055 new aircraft orders last year compared with Boeing's figure of 1,002. Airbus, in which UK company BAE Systems has a 20 per cent stake, also delivered 378 planes in 2005, compared with Boeing's 290.
Boeing announced its 2005 figures earlier this month, with Toulouse-based Airbus releasing its statistics yesterday.
Both companies enjoyed a record 2005 as airlines signed up for such new planes as the Airbus A380 superjumbo, the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Last year was the fifth successive year Airbus has out-sold Boeing in terms of orders, while it was the third year running that the European company has led in deliveries.
Airbus president and chief executive Gustav Humbert said: "2005 was a record year for the whole industry and for Airbus in particular.
"Airlines have never ever placed so many orders, a sign that they are very optimistic about the future of air transportation, with also a lot of new carriers emerging and bringing cheap air travel to an increasing number of consumers."
He added: "But it also reflects the need for more modern equipment to face rising fuel prices. We are pleased to have maintained our lead in terms of market share.
"But, more importantly, we continue to increase our production output, based on a backlog never seen in history, which secures work for the next four to five years at very high production rates."
However, Boeing still claimed the lion's share of the premium end of the market - forcing Airbus to concede defeat to its fierce rival in the overall value of jets sold.
The US planemaker had a record year for its twin-engined long-haul 777 and trumped Airbus's planned mid-sized A350 with strong sales of its new 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus said it had 87 firm orders and another 85 commitments for the newly launched A350, whereas Boeing said earlier this month it had sold 235 of the 787s last year.
Mr Humbert said he wanted to catch up with Boeing in long-range and wide-bodied jets within two years.
"We have to take the next two years to really come up to the same 50-50 level of orders of long-range and wide-bodied aircraft," he added.
Mr Humbert said Airbus's gross orders of 1,111 planes were worth $95.9 billion (£54.4 billion), but estimated Boeing had taken 55 per cent of the total market by value.
He said it was too early, however, to comment on spec-ulation that Airbus would be forced to redesign its slow-selling four-engined A340 to counter the 777's success and that no decisions had been taken.
Meanwhile, Airbus said it had won an order for four A350 planes from an unamed leasing company.