LE BOURGET, France – After a frenzied four days of deals at the Paris Air Show, Europe's Airbus appears to have booked enough orders to move ahead of rival Boeing Co. (BA) in the sales race this year.
Airbus, a unit of EADS, sold less than half as many planes as Boeing over the first five months of the year, but a characteristic surge on its home turf at Le Bourget may have put it ahead.
It is not clear how many of the highly publicised deals announced at the show will turn into firm orders entered in the companies' online order books -- an event closely monitored by investors and analysts -- but Airbus has the upper hand.
According to sales chief John Leahy, Airbus has taken 405 firm plane orders at the show so far, plus another 250 or so looser sale agreements.
Added to the Airbus tally of 201 orders at the end of May, that would edge Airbus above the 600 mark for firm orders so far this year.
Boeing had a quieter time in Paris, with only 66 new firm orders announced, and a similar number of existing orders identified. According to Boeing's online order book, the jet maker had 510 net orders through June 20, putting it nearly 100 behind Airbus.
Airbus is not likely to update its order book until after the end of June.
Boeing wrested the title of biggest-selling plane maker from Airbus last year for the first time since 2000, with a record 1,044 firm orders against 790 for Airbus.