June 21, 2007

Airbus, Boeing ink more deals in Paris

PARIS — Airbus booked more major orders for its A350 XWB aircraft on Wednesday, a day after U.S. rival Boeing Co. snagged the troubled jet's original launch customer for its own 787 Dreamliner.

Airbus signed Russian airline Aeroflot in a firm deal for 22 of the revamped A350 aircraft and received commitments from India's Kingfisher Airlines and Libya's Afriqiyah Airways to buy another 56.

Boeing, meanwhile, pocketed more plane orders from Air France and KLM.

KLM ordered seven of Boeing's next-generation 737-700 aircraft, while Air France picked up nine of its 777-300 ER, or extended range, planes. The combined firm orders worth $2.7 billion at list prices were previously on

Announced at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, north of Paris, the deals underscore Airbus' attempt to win back support for its A350 model.

The firm order from Aeroflot worth around $3.2 billion at list prices confirms an earlier commitment to buy the planes signed in March. The Kingfisher deal for 50 planes is a memorandum of understanding worth around $7 billion at catalog prices, as is the Afriqiyah Airways deal for 6 planes worth around $1.6 billion.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles-based International Lease Finance Corp., an original launch customer for the A350, placed an order with Boeing that makes it the biggest customer for 787 Dreamliner.

Airbus has been fighting an uphill battle against the Dreamliner since it was forced into a redesign of the aircraft by unhappy customers, including ILFC Chief Executive Stephen Udvar-Hazy as the most vocal.

The costly redesign — resulting in the extra-wide-body, or XWB, model — has pushed back the first delivery date of the plane until 2013, years behind the first delivery of Boeing's 787 due in May 2008.

ILFC's deal with Boeing, making it the biggest 787 customer with 74 firm orders, was another blow to Airbus' push to win back orders.

The Associated Press
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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