By Eric M. Johnson
SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co bounced back to win the traditional annual order race against Airbus SE on an adjusted basis, but its European rival remained the world's largest planemaker based on the number of jets delivered, data showed on Tuesday.
Shares in Boeing rose around 2% after the closely watched data showed it ended 2021 with 535 net orders after cancellations and conversions that were partially offset by regular accounting adjustments. Gross orders were 909.
Excluding the upward accounting adjustments, which reflect a more positive view from Boeing on airlines' ability to take delivery, Boeing fell behind its rival with 479 orders.
Airbus sold 771 airplanes in 2021, giving a net total of 507 after cancellations, almost twice its 2020 level.
After slashing production due mainly to the pandemic, planemakers are seeing more demand for medium-haul passenger jets and freighters, despite global concern over Omicron.
Boeing largely met analyst expectations on aircraft deliveries, handing over a total of 340 aircraft to customers in 2021, up from 157 in 2020, but down from 380 in 2019 and a record 806 jets in 2018.
Its 2021 numbers include a severely depressed delivery tally of 14 787 Dreamliner twin-aisles - compared to 41 in 2020 - as intensive inspections over production flaws compounded delays from the COVID-19 crisis.
By comparison, Airbus delivered 611 jets in 2021, retaining its crown as the world's largest jetmaker for the third year running.
In December, the latest data showed Boeing delivered 38 planes to customers, including 32 of its 737 MAX jets, one P-8 maritime patrol aircraft to Norway, and five widebodies.
Boeing had 79 net orders for aircraft in December, after cancellations and instances where a buyer converted an order for one type of aircraft to another. That included an order for 50 737 MAX airplanes from Allegiant Air, seven jets for an unspecified customer, 19 767 freighters for United Parcel Service, and four 777 freighters for Atlas Air.
Boeing continues to dominate booming sales of freighters as lockdowns boost e-shopping. It notched 84 orders for new production freighters, surpassing its previous record of 83 set in 2018.
Airbus for its part booked the first orders for a new A350 freighter - albeit partially by swapping existing orders for passenger versions to the cargo planes.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Himani Sarkar)