(Corrects number of aircraft sold to 40 from 50)
Sept 4 (Reuters) - The top salesman at Airbus said a deal to sell 40 aircraft to Delta Airlines, unveiled on Wednesday, involved a "competitive" price.
The deal for 40 aircaft is worth $5.6 billion at list prices, but analysts said they expected Airbus to have offered steep discounts to land its first Delta order in 20 years.
Sales chief John Leahy said Airbus was pleased to have won Delta's backing for the deal.
"This was a competitive price, but I don't believe it was any different from normal. We don't talk about detailed pricing," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Boeing said it had tried to win a deal that served Delta's needs while protecting its own business interests, but Leahy said his U.S. rivals had put up a tough fight for the deal.
"Boeing was a little desperate," he said.
Aircraft are usually sold at discounts to official prices.
Asked about industry speculation that Airbus had suffered a setback in a widely watched bid to sell aircraft to Japan, where Boeing is strong, Leahy said, "We have not given up yet".
He also said a pending order for up to 130 aircraft from American Airlines would be in the official Airbus order backlog by the end of this year. Some of the planes may be supplied by lessors, meaning not all 130 jets may be booked as new orders. (Reporting by Tim Hepher; editing by David Evans)