Boeing says it is in "advanced discussions for a significant number of 777s in greater China", elaborating on commercial airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh's comments regarding having sold 30 777s to Chinese carriers in recent weeks.
"I think you're going to see sales of narrowbodies and widebodies continue to grow. I'm pretty excited about it. I sold 30 777s over [in China] last week and have a lot of discussions with other customers about more," said Albaugh at the JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Defense conference in New York.
Boeing clarified that its discussions are being held with "all airlines in Greater China for 777s", and the 28 February order for 10 777-300ERs for China Southern Airlines was likely to be included in the total for 30.
Orders by state-owned Chinese carriers require government approval before being officially added to Boeing's backlog.
Albaugh expects Boeing to earn more than 84 orders for 777s this year, as he anticipates bookings for the widebody to exceed deliveries. Boeing's 777 production rate is currently running at seven 777s per month, with plans to go to 8.3 later in the year.
The 777 is expected to follow a wider trend for Boeing orders in 2012 with Albaugh's expectation of a book-to-bill ratio above one as it looks to firm the more than 1000 commitments it holds for the re-engined 737 Max.
Additionally, Albaugh said to expect 747-8 Freighter orders in the "next several months" despite softening in the global air freight market.
Boeing forecasts delivering between 585 and 600 aircraft in 2012.