Airbus celebrates record year by taking on 4,000 staff

Airbus is to employ at least 4,000 more staff on the back of a record year for orders in 2011.

The European aircraft manufacturer said it booked 1,419 orders last year, representing 54% of market share by value.

Leading the new business were 1,226 orders for the new generation A320neo, confirming its position as the fastest-selling commercial aircraft.

This brought overall sales for the entire A320 family to 8,292 aircraft by the end of 2011.

The order book for the A380 superjumbo also increased last year, with 29 orders from both new and repeat customers.

The company said it is to “ramp up” production this year to meet a growing order backlog, supported by additional growth in its employee count.

Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders said the planned production acceleration will raise the output of the A320 family in 2012 to a record high of around 42 aircraft a month.

“To meet these output rates, Airbus will maintain a focus on expanding its workforce’s size, skills and talent – adding at least 4,000 more employees in 2012, which follows the 4,500 new recruits hired in 2011,” the company said.

Airbus chief operating officer, customers, John Leahy said 2011 marked the 10th consecutive year of production increases, positioning Airbus as the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer in nine of these past 10 years.

He said air travel will continue to be a growth market, with the continued trend of air traffic doubling every 15 years.

Airbus’ outlook foresees commercial orders for 600-650 of its commercial aircraft in 2012, with a target of 570 deliveries to be made during the year.

“In such a cyclical industry as ours, Airbus is proud of how it has handled the smooth, continual ramp-up in deliveries over the past decade, which is much different than the ups-and-downs of our competitor’s output,” Leahy said.

“We work very hard to actively manage the way we build aircraft – and the airlines agree this is a much better way to do it.”

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