Airbus wins major order of up to 100 jets

Leasing company Awas (Ireland) is expected to announce a deal to buy up to 100 Airbus jets worth $6,9-billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday in its online European edition.

The news came after United States aerospace group Boeing said last week it delivered 441 commercial airplanes in 2007 as part of a tight race with Europe’s Airbus for the lead in the global market.

The Awas deal was for 75 single-aisle jetliners, with options for 25 more, which Airbus will book this year, the Wall Street Journal said. The planes are valued at $6,9-billion dollars based on list prices, but big orders normally attract large discounts.

According to the Journal the deal lifts Awas a notch higher among second-tier aircraft-leasing companies. These companies, which provide aircraft to airlines around the world, are among the biggest plane buyers in the aviation business.

Awas has been one of the fastest-growing midsize players.
The company, purchased in 2006 by British private-equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners, now owns or manages 320 aircraft.

Last month it announced an order for 31 single-aisle 737 planes from Boeing and purchase rights for 19 more, with a catalogue price of $2,3-billion.

Airbus has been in a dogfight with Boeing for the lead in both orders and deliveries.

The full order book for both groups for 2006 has not yet been released. But through until the end of September, Airbus had received 854 plane orders to 893 for Boeing.

Airbus, which has been mired in financial difficulties, had been overtaken in 2006 by Boeing, with its 1 044 orders against 790 for the subsidiary of the European defense group Eads.

Until then Airbus had led the order stakes since 2000.

Boeing is expected to have about 1 400 orders for 2007 but Airbus could top that figure, according to some estimates. - AFP

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