Boeing pips Airbus, bags $10b orders

London, November 21:

The US aircraft maker Boeing yesterday landed multibillion-dollar orders from the Middle East and China, leaving its arch-rival Airbus trailing in its slipstream. On the first day of the Dubai air show, Boeing reported a $9.7 billion order from Emirates airline for 42 long-range 777 jet aircraft, with an option for a further 20. Earlier in the day the Chinese government said it was buying 70 Boeing 737 jets, worth about $4 billion and could order another 80. The announcement came during a visit to Beijing by the US president George Bush. Analysts suggested the announcement could have been timed to coincide with the Bush trip to help allay US fears about China’s huge trade surplus.

Airbus responded to Boeing’s orders by announcing that it had clinched a $2.9 billion deal for 12 of its A350 aircraft, plus six options, from the Kuwaiti leasing firm Alafco, while Saudi Ar-abia’s National Air Services said it was buying five Airbus A318 aircraft, with an option to buy a further five. The Boeing deal takes the number of aircraft ordered by Emirates to 132 — including 45 Airbus A380 super jumbos — with a list price of $37.4 billion. The Boeing 777 aircraft will be powered by engines from General Electric. The value of yesterday’s Emirates deal alone outstripped the total orders announced at the Dubai airshow when it was last staged two years ago. Emirates is a crucial customer for Airbus and Boeing in their battle for top slot in the commercial airline market. Analysts see the decision as pivotal.