June 19, 2007

US Airways orders 92 Airbus new planes

LE BOURGET, France -- Boeing Co. and its European rival Airbus SA both snagged new orders at the opening Monday of the world's biggest air show.

US Airways announced plans to buy 92 Airbus aircraft, a big boost for the European aircraft maker on the opening day of the world's largest air show.

The airline said it has agreed on terms with Airbus for 60 single-aisle A320-family aircraft and 32 widebody aircraft, including the next generation A350 XWB. The A320-family planes would replace 60 older aircraft in the airline's fleet.

The manufacturers' intense competition was again expected to be a dominant theme of the weeklong show at Le Bourget, north of Paris. Both looked to make a big splash from the get-go.

Boeing said GE Commercial Aviation Services had ordered six of its 777 freighters, worth $1.42 billion (1.06 billion euros) at list prices. The order takes the number of 777s ordered by GECAS to 39, including 14 freighters.

Airbus, meanwhile, snagged another order from fast-growing Emirates airlines for eight additional A380 double-decker aircraft, a deal estimated to be worth about $2.5 billion (1.9 billion euros).

The latest order brings to 55 the number of A380s ordered by the Dubai-based airline.

Qatar Airways also ordered a raft of Airbus aircraft, including 80 A350s, three A380s and three A320 family aircraft. The A350 order was a confirmation of Qatar's' earlier commitments to buy the 80 jets. Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said the order for the A350s is worth $16 billion (12 billion euros).

Two of the orders for the A380, Airbus's flagship double-decker plane, are conversions of earlier options into firm orders, he said, and the airline is taking one new order, bringing its total order for A380s to five. The three firm orders together are worth about $750 million (563 million euros), he said.

Additionally, Qatar is ordering three new single-aisle jets of Airbus's A320 family.

Wiring and other technical problems are behind a costly two-year delay in delivery of the A380. The holdup is set to wipe 4.8 billion euros ($6.2 billion) off the profit of Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV over the next four years.

By JANE WARDELL / Associated Press
The full of this article's can be read on the source at: WCNC Charlotte

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