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Boeing starts 2013 ahead of Airbus despite 787 freeze

PARIS (Reuters) - Boeing started the year ahead of its European rival Airbus, after clinching the industry's top spot in 2012, with broadly higher orders and deliveries in January, data showed on Friday.

EADS unit Airbus said it had taken 140 orders during the month, or 121 after adjusting for cancellations, and also delivered 35 passenger jets to airline customers.

Boeing said on Thursday it had delivered 39 aircraft in January, beating Airbus despite a halt in deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner which has been grounded by battery safety concerns.

The U.S. company sold 145 aircraft between January 1 and February 5, the nearest comparable period for which data is available, and took no cancellations.

Both companies' order books were unusually active for January as American Airlines won court permission to confirm large plane orders while in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Christian Plumb)

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