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Airbus set to deliver A350 next year in bid to challenge Boeing

European aerospace company EADS has said it’s set to deliver the first A350 planes by the end of 2014. The latest Airbus model plays a key role in the firm’s attempt to overtake Boeing as the world’s biggest planemaker.

Airbus was on track to deliver the first aircraft of its newest A350 model by the end of 2014, said Tom Enders, chief executive of Airbus' parent company, EADS, on Monday.

Admitting that the new fuel-efficient airliner was behind schedule compared with a similar model manufactured by US rival Boeing, Enders noted that the A350 would avoid repeating some of the mistakes apparent in Boeing's troubled 787 Dreamliner.

"I was quite pleased that we were trailing the 787 because by taking our time we could learn some of the lessons from that project," he told reporters at a meeting of Australia's National Aviation Press Club.

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Airbus wins landmark order with Japan Airlines

Enders also noted that 750 of the company's latest model had already been sold, among them a major order worth $9.5 billion (7 billion euros) from Japan Airlines (JAL), with which Airbus would hope to break Boeing's dominance in the Japanese market.

The EADS chief was less pleased with recent sales of Airbus double-decker A380, of which 111 had been delivered with 150 more on order. But Enders showed himself to be optimistic about Airbus's biggest plane model, adding that the time of this plane was still to come.

Race to the top

Meanwhile, Airbus Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier unveiled a plan to overtake Boeing as the world's biggest planemaker within four to five years.

Airbus was seeking to achieve this by increasing production of its A320Neo and its long-haul A350 model, Bregier told German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

“In 2017/2018 we will therefore again be able to gain the lead in deliveries,” he said.

Bregier also said that the subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) would reach deliveries of more than 600 aircraft this year and that the figure would be even higher next year.

uhe/kms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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