European planemaker Airbus announced orders for more than 60 new jets Wednesday, outstripping U.S. rival Boeing Co. so far in the number of deals unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow - but not in their value.
Airbus arrived at the airshow on the backfoot following costly new production delays to its A380 superjumbo and the subsequent departure of key executives. It unveiled a string of deals with both airlines and leasing companies. Boeing, meanwhile, picked up orders for just 14 new jets on Wednesday.
Since the show opened Monday, Airbus had received orders or commitments for 85 planes, worth about $6.3 billion.
Boeing has gained orders and commitments for 76 aircraft but sold more larger jets than Airbus, topping $10 billion in new business.
All values are based on catalog prices, since the discounts that airlines typically negotiate aren't disclosed.
The majority of the orders announced Wednesday at the show, one of the biggest events on the aviation calendar, were for Airbus' A320-family single-aisle passenger jets.
Malaysia's AirAsia ordered 40 of the planes, with an option for 30 more, while ILFC, a unit of American International Group Inc., ordered six of the jets.
Greece's Aegean Airlines picked up three more A320s to replace aging aircraft in its fleet.
"We are very proud to see a renewed order from Aegean Airlines so quickly after becoming a new Airbus customer in December 2005," said Airbus Chief Executive Christian Streiff.
In another, nonbinding agreement, Spanish carrier Grupo Marsans agreed to buy 12 Airbus A330-200 airplanes, with an option for a further 10 planes.
Grupo Marsans President Gonzalo Pascual said that the wide-bodied A330-200 "perfectly fits our operations and will support our sustained growth in Latin America."
Airbus also said that its corporate jetliner arm had won a new order from an undisclosed European customer, taking firm orders of the company's executive and private aircraft in 2006 to a record 14. Airbus did not disclose which of its corporate jets was ordered or its list price.
Chicago-based Boeing's major order for the day came from ILFC, which exercised an option to purchase a total of 10 planes - six 737-800s, two 777-300ERs and two 787 Dreamliners - in a deal worth around $1.2 billion at list prices.
"These airplanes reflect our confidence in the market going forward and our commitment to Boeing and its product line," said ILFC Chief Executive Steven F. Udvar-Hazy.
Boeing also announced a nonbinding agreement to sell Indian cargo airline Flyington Freighters four 777 freighters. The planemaker said that deal was subject to the carrier obtaining the necessary statutory clearances.
Airbus is seeking to reassure investors at Farnborough that it is back on track after the A380 delays and management changes last month at both Airbus and its parent company European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. It used the first day of the airshow to unveil a $10 billion revamp of the A350 jet, the original design of which had been criticized by airlines.
The new A350XWB - for "extra-wide body" - seeks to beat the Dreamliner at its own game. It offers bigger windows, a roomier cabin, even greater fuel efficiency and a larger stretch version that seats 350 passengers - 15 fewer than the 777-300ER.
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