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PARIS, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Airbus posted an 8 percent rise in deliveries last year, beating its own forecasts by a comfortable margin, and pulled off a last-minute surge in orders to beat its arch-rival Boeing in the race for new orders.
The European planemaker said on Wednesday it had delivered 688 aircraft in 2016, compared with an official company forecast of more than 650 and an informal goal recently set by its finance director of more than 670.
That narrowed an output gap with the world's biggest aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, but Airbus remained ahead in terms of new orders after posting 731 net orders for 2016.
Boeing delivered 748 aircraft and took 668 net orders in 2016. (Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)