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Farnborough: Orders for 90 Airbuses at air show narrow Boeing's lead in 2006 sales tally

By David Kaminski-Morrow in Farnborough

Airbus closed its order gap on rival Boeing during the Farnborough air show after declaring firm agreements for 90 aircraft, plus commitments for another 92.

Boeing, in contrast, revealed only a select number of firm agreements, covering a handful of aircraft, which were not already counted on its order books.

Two strong orders for Airbus narrowbodies – comprising 40 from AirAsia and 20 from Wizz Air – have helped the manufacturer to claw back part of its deficit after a first-half tally revealed it was trailing Boeing by 376 aircraft.

India’s Go Air, plus lessors CIT and International Lease Finance (ILFC), accounted for another 25 aircraft, and three operators – Aegean Airlines, Air Caraibes and a private customer – took the other five.

Among the carriers committing to Airbus were Singapore Airlines, with a letter of intent to take 20 A350s and nine more A380s, and lease 19 A330s. Germany’s Blue Wings is to take 20 A320-family jets, while both Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways and Spain’s Marsans Group will each be acquiring 12 aircraft.

“This air show clearly demonstrated the confidence our customers are placing in Airbus to deliver the product they need,” says new Airbus chief Christian Streiff.

The European airframer puts the overall value of the agreements at $21.5 billion. Four of the customers placed options for another 58 aircraft between them.

While Boeing formally declared an order for 30 737s from Lion Air and 14 more from Aviation Capital Group, both had already featured on its books as undisclosed agreements. Spanish carrier Futura also revealed an order for three 737s.

Kuwait’s LoadAir has agreed to take a pair of Boeing 747-400ERFs and Boeing picked up orders for four more 787s from lessors ILFC and Pegasus Aviation. Indian start-up Flyington Freighters has agreed to purchase four Boeing 777 freighters.

Qatar Airways had been expected to formalise an order for 20 777s, aircraft which have been officially listed as undisclosed on Boeing’s books, but the airline says that unresolved issues and continuing discussions prevented it from publicising the deal.

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