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Boeing climbs back on top in jet-airliner orders competition

Gunter Endres/LONDON

AFTER HITTING rock bottom in 1994, jet-airliner orders in the first half of 1995 provide some encouragement for the three major manufacturers. Total order intake reached 250, with few cancellations to take the shine off the figures.

Honours so far go to Boeing, with 149 new orders announced for the half year, helped by aggressive marketing of the new-generation 737 and its share of the Saudia deal, worth around $5.2 billion in the shape of 23 777-200s and five 747-400s.

Boeing is already comfortably ahead of the meagre 120 orders it achieved for the whole of 1994 and, with the order added in July from International Lease Finance for 54 737s, is well on the way to achieve levels of order intake not seen for at least three years.

Airbus, which had matched and even surpassed the Seattle manufacturer throughout 1994, fell behind in the first half of 1995. Although the consortium can draw some satisfaction from the success of its narrow body family, only one A340 sale was added over the half (with another three from Egyptair in July).

By contrast, the Saudia order helped Boeing to show 26 orders for the 777, and further growth should be expected following its entry into service in June.

For McDonnell Douglas, the Saudia order provided a much-needed boost, without which its order book would have made dismal reading. Taking away the 29 MD-90s and four MD-11s would have left the Long Beach company with net orders for only two MD-11s and seven MD-80s.

All three manufacturers are battling it out for the next big orders expected to be placed by South African Airways and Asiana, both of which are likely to make a decision in the next few months