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Airbus logs record year, plans roomier planes

Airbus president and chief executive Fabrice Bregier (right) and operating chief John Leahy. Bregier said supersonic flight would not be viable anytime soon.
Airbus president and chief executive Fabrice Bregier (right) and operating chief John Leahy. Bregier said supersonic flight would not be viable anytime soon. GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO/European Pressphoto Agency

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TOULOUSE, France — After a record year for sales, plane maker Airbus aims to keep business going by focusing on space — as in more legroom, not outer.

Woolly ambitions once bandied about in the aviation industry for supersonic or stratospheric flight have taken a back seat to more mundane market demands at the European manufacturer.

For good reason: Business is booming, and 2013 was a record year in many ways. Airbus said Monday that it received a record 1,619 orders, and delivered a company-best 626 planes — right behind the 648 delivered by U.S. archrival Boeing & Co.

The companies, which split the global market for commercial planes, saw airlines gobble up their offerings to renew or build fleets, cut fuel costs and plan for continued growth in travel.

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