Airbus extended its lead over Boeing in July as both plane makers added a major order from American Airlines to their books and prepared to fight over other big fleet replacement orders expected in coming months.
The European plane maker said in a monthly tally it had sold 922 aircraft between January and July, bolstered by the success of a revamped version of its A320 family of narrow-body jets.
Cancellations earlier in the year brought the net total of planes sold in the first seven months down to 785.
The tally includes half of a 260 Airbus plane order announced by American Airlines in July, part of a record USD$40 billion deal split between Airbus and Boeing.
An Airbus spokesman said the rest of the order was being channelled through leasing companies and would appear in the backlog as soon as financing details have been completed.
Boeing sold 345 aircraft or a net total of 249 between January and July.
Its sales were hit in the first half by uncertainty over its strategy for the 737 medium-haul jet which competes with the A320 in the largest segment of the market, but in July Boeing decided to match Airbus and equip its jet with new engines to save fuel.
As a result of that move American ordered 100 existing models of 737 and tentatively agreed to buy 100 of the re-engined models to appear later this decade.
Boeing’s July order book included the 100 current models of 737 to American, with confirmation of the other half depending on final approval of the re-engine plan by Boeing’s board.
Analysts say Delta Air Lines and United Continental are also expected to weigh significant orders in coming months, as more efficiently powered aircraft offer carriers the opportunity to reduce high fuel bills.