Seattle, USA: Global aerospace major, Boeing Co, said on Monday said that it had added eleven additional orders for its new 787 Dreamliner, a fuel-efficient passenger jet that is scheduled to make its maiden flight in August this year. The new orders, according to industry analysts, is set to make the 787 the most successful wide body jet launch in history.
The deals also widened the Chicago-based company's lead over European rival Airbus, whose competing A350 wide body jet is five years behind the 787 in development.
Boeing's confirmed new orders for 787s included five from Houston-based Continental Airlines Inc and six from Aviation Lease and Finance Co of Kuwait (ALAFCO).
So far Boeing has received confirmed orders for 475 Dreamliners.
The long-range, midsize 787 will burn 20 per cent less fuel than comparable airplanes, mainly through the use of more lightweight composites. It is expected to enter commercial service in 2008.
Continental said that it had ordered five 787-9 jets, which can fly farther than other versions of the Dreamliner. The airline also said it had upgraded a previous order for a dozen 787-8s, to 787-9s, which can fly up to 8,500 nautical miles. The five new jets are worth about $916 million at list prices. The dozen 787-9s will also bring $1.8 billion more to Boeing than the 787-8s.
ALAFCO, meanwhile, ordered six 787-8s on Monday and was also identified as the buyer of six previously listed orders for the planes. Boeing said ALAFCO was the first Middle East carrier to make final an order for the Dreamliner. ALAFCO also placed an order for six 737-800s. In all, the 18 planes will carry a total list price of $2.26 billion.
Meanwhile, Russian long-haul air shipper Volga-Dnepr signed a deal for five new long-range 747-8 freighters, with options for five more. This would mark a breakthrough for Boeing in Russia, where its efforts to sell the 787 have not met with any success so far, mainly, it is reasoned, because of strained relations between the two countries.
Boeing has been trying to strike a multi-billion dollar deal with Russian carrier Aeroflot.