PARIS, May 5 (Reuters) - Airbus sold 25 passenger jets in April, bringing total orders for the European planemaker so far this year to 51, well behind its U.S. rival Boeing.
Airbus typically makes a slow start to the year as it prefers to use the industry's main summer air show, held in Paris in June this year, as a focal point for new business.
But figures published on Friday underscore fragile demand as airlines digest record new capacity ordered in recent years, while bracing for economic weakness in key markets.
Airbus said that after adjustments for cancellations and conversions between different models, net orders stood at 23 aircraft for the year so far.
April's new business included 10 of its new A350-900 aircraft, but the customer was not identified.
Boeing this week posted 241 orders for the first four months, or 210 after cancellations. Orders were boosted partly by demand for military derivatives.
Airbus delivered 182 aircraft between January and April.
Airbus is targeting 700 deliveries for the whole year, though top executives have also issued a more optimistic forecast of 720 deliveries.
Boeing is targeting 760-765 deliveries.
Airbus expects deliveries once again to be weighted towards the latter half of the year as it faces problems with one brand of engine on its A320neo family, but hopes to avoid the dramatic sprint of December last year following such difficulties.
Deliveries so far this year include 36 A320neo-family aircraft including the first A320neo. It is aiming to deliver about 200 of the upgraded medium-haul models this year.
It delivered 17 A350 aircraft in the first four months. It delivered no A380 superjumbos in April and has handed over three of the aircraft for the year so far. (Reporting by Tim Hepher; editing by David Clarke)