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UPDATE 1-Airbus sold 41 jets in September, targets record 4th-quarter deliveries

By Tim Hepher

(Recasts with details of orders, adds deliveries)

By Tim Hepher

PARIS, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Airbus sold 41 jets in September and processed cancellations for nine jets including five originally sold to Norwegian Air, leaving the European firm ahead of Boeing Co in a relatively slow year for an industry distracted by safety and trade headlines.

The European planemaker said it had won a total of 303 orders in the first nine months of the year, or 127 net new orders after cancellations.

That remains well ahead of U.S. rival Boeing, whose sales have been hampered by the grounding of its fast-selling jet, the 737 MAX, in the wake of two accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Boeing registered sales of 145 aircraft up to end-August, the latest period for which data is available, or a net total of 55 after ordinary cancellations and a negative total of 85 after adjustments to historic orders deemed unlikely to materialise.

Airbus posted new orders for 14 A220 and 10 A321neo planes to unnamed customers. Reuters reported last week it was close to a deal for around 12 A220 jets with Mexico's Interjet.

The overall tally of Airbus orders by low-cost carrier Norwegian Air fell to 88 aircraft from 93 after the airline trimmed its A320neo order by five aircraft, a monthly Airbus table showed.

Norwegian Air could not be reached for comment out of business hours. Airbus declined comment.

Monday's update was the first since the United States announced tariffs of 10% on Airbus aircraft, while sparing aircraft assembled in the planemaker's Alabama plant.

New business included confirmation of 12 more orders for the A330neo - an upgraded version of the A330 wide-body that is in a fierce battle against the Boeing 787 - from Malaysia's AirAsiaX.

The move reflects part of a fleet review that involves scaling back the airline's earlier growth plans for the same model and switching focus to a long-range version of the A321.

The long-haul arm of Asia’s largest budget airline group, AirAsia X Bhd, had initially planned to order 34 more of the 250-300-seat A330neo jets, on top of 66 already on order.

In August, the group reduced those plans to 12 more A330neos while agreeing to buy 30 newly launched 321XLRs. The latter part of the deal has not yet appeared in the Airbus order book.

Three buyers opted to convert a total of 22 A320neo jets to the larger A321neo, which has been scoring wins in a segment of the market Boeing had hoped to address with a new design before the MAX was grounded in March, Airbus data showed. Discussion of the new Boeing jet has slowed while the MAX crisis continues.

Deliveries of new Airbus aircraft rose 13.5% from a year earlier to 571 between January and September, Airbus data showed. That means it must top last year's record fourth-quarter handovers of 297 jets to reach its full-year goal of 880-890.

Airbus has been hit by problems in ramping up output of the A321neo at a German plant as quickly as it hoped, though nine-month deliveries of the model are still up more than 50%. (Reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris Editing by Matthew Lewis)