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Archive for Friday, June 20, 2003

Airbus snatches deal from Boeing

European manufacturer wins $5 billion contract from Qatar

June 20, 2003

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— European plane manufacturer Airbus won a $5.1 billion order for up to 32 wide-body planes from Gulf carrier Qatar Airways on Thursday, snatching another deal from Boeing.

Qatar Airways, which already flies only Airbus jets, will more than double the size of its fleet by 2008 with the order for 18 new Airbus planes and options on 14 more, company officials said.

Until last week, the airline was considering its first purchase of Boeing planes.

"We were looking at both Airbus and Boeing," Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, said at the Paris Air Show.

The airline's belief that the Airbus aircraft would offer better revenue potential "tipped the balance" in favor of Airbus, Al Baker said, but he added that the airline would consider Boeing planes in the future.

The deal, coming at a time of turmoil in the airline industry, was the second order announced by Airbus at the air show. Boeing hasn't unveiled any new firm orders but insists it doesn't focus on air shows to report new business.

In its only major commercial-jet announcement at the show, Boeing said it signed a preliminary deal with Korean Air for eight planes worth about $1.5 billion.

Boeing is Kansas' largest private employer with about 12,000 employees in Wichita.

Airbus' other firm deal was a record-setting $12.5 billion order from Qatar Airways rival Emirates for 41 new jets -- including 21 A380 superjumbos.

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