Seattle Two air charter carriers, Blue Panorama of Italy and First Choice Airways of the United Kingdom, are the first in Europe that plan to buy Boeing Co.'s new 7E7 Dreamliner passenger jets, the company said Wednesday.
Blue Panorama plans to order four of the 7E7 jets while First Choice, formerly Air 2000, expects to buy six, Boeing said.
The 10 planes would be worth $1.2 billion at list prices, although airlines typically negotiate substantial discounts.
Contract negotiations between Boeing and the airlines should be completed later this year and deliveries would begin in 2009, Boeing said.
Mike Bair, Boeing's senior vice president in charge of the 7E7 program, said both airlines were primarily interested in the 7E7-8, which seats 217 passengers in three classes and can fly nearly 9,800 miles.
The 7E7-8 and a shorter-range 7E7-3 are both scheduled to enter service beginning in 2008.
Boeing also is planning to offer its stretched 7E7-9 model beginning in about 2012. Previously, Bair said the Boeing officials had discussed offering the larger model as early as 2010, but the company now thinks it makes sense to hold off a little longer before investing in that model.
Boeing officially launched the 7E7 program in April with a 50-plane order from Japan's All Nippon Airways, and Air New Zealand opted for two 7E7s last month.
Bair said Wednesday that Boeing had proposals for 7E7 orders out to more than 30 airlines.
First Choice Airways confirmed it had signed a letter of intent to take delivery of six aircraft starting in 2009.
Dermot Blastland, managing director of First Choice Mainstream Holidays, said the 7E7 "will take the comfort of flying to a new level."
"We will be able to consider destinations that are impossible to fly to nonstop with our current fleet and are delighted that the lower fuel emissions and noise levels will help the environment."
First Choice Airways flies to 60 destinations, including Mexico and resorts across the Mediterranean.
Neither carrier has decided whether to order General Electric GENX or Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines, Boeing said.