Boeing, Airbus win orders worth over 23 billion dollars

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Rivals Boeing and Airbus shared the honours Monday as they won orders worth some 23 billion dollars from airlines and leasing companies seeking to meet soaring demand for air travel.

The Farnborough International Airshow took off with a rush of firm orders for 192 short and long-haul passenger jets worth a total of 23.3 billion dollars (18 billion euros).

The biggest single order came from Dubai airline Emirates for 30 Boeing long-range 777 aircraft worth a combined 9.1 billion dollars.

General Electric's aircraft leasing unit agreed to buy 40 single-aisle 737-800 planes worth 3.0 billion dollars from US aerospace giant Boeing.

GE Capital Aviation Services also bought 60 A320 single-aisle planes with a catalogue price of 4.5 billion dollars from Boeing's fierce European rival Airbus.

Airbus also won a 4.4-billion-dollar order from new US group Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for 51 A320 jets, while Russian airline Aeroflot confirmed it was buying 11 long-haul Airbus A3330-300 jets worth 2.3 billion dollars.

Although the 192 jets together are worth more than 23 billion dollars, customers traditionally receive large discounts on the list price of each plane when the orders are of a sizeable amount.

Emirates chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said his decision to expand the airline's 777 fleet reflected plans to grow its "expansive global network, which already spans six continents.

"It also demonstrates our commitment to operating a modern fleet that not only enhances the passenger experience but our operational efficiency as well," he added.

Only a month ago, the world's most bullish airline agreed to spend 11.5 billion dollars on 32 Airbus A380 superjumbos -- the biggest single contract in civil aviation history.

Explaining the reason behind ALC's purchase of 51 short-haul Airbus jets, chief executive Steven F. Udvar-Hazy said on Monday: "In today's airline world, low operating costs, fuel efficiency, environmental friendliness and maximum operating flexibility are important ingredients.

"The latest versions of the Airbus family of single aisle aircraft meet and exceed those high standards," said the chief executive of the US leasing company.

The Farnborough show near London is one of the aviation world's biggest trade events and renowned for being an arena for major deal announcements.

Boeing will be hoping to secure more orders here for its mid-sized 787 Dreamliner -- a fuel-efficient jet which will be on display in Farnborough after making its first flight outside of the United States on Sunday.

The plane, which can fly very long distances and seat up to 330 passengers, has been beset by production delays.

Jim Albaugh, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said on Sunday the company hoped to deliver the first Dreamliner to launch client All Nippon Airways no later than January.

Airbus is working on a new long-haul plane of its own -- the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body). Another big project for Airbus is its long-delayed A400M military transport plane, which made a flypast at Farnborough.

The Farnborough show also traditionally sees the announcement of orders for military jets but with governments set to slash defence budgets to help reduce huge public deficits, major deals may be scarce.

© 2010 AFP

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