Paris Air Show

Boeing is big dealmaker at Paris show

 - December 13, 2006, 9:09 AM

Boeing yesterday landed three major airliner deals here at Le Bourget, collectively worth up to $13.1 billion.

GE Capital Aviation Services signed for twenty 737-800s for delivery between 2006 and 2008. International Lease Finance Corp. ordered twenty 737-700/800s for 2008 delivery, as well as a pair of 777-200ERs and six 777-300 ERs to arrive in 2006-08. Finally, India’s Jet Airways signed a letter of intent covering ten 737-800s, 6 777-200LRs and four 777-300 ERs–all provisionally for delivery next year.

All the above 737s will be powered by CFM56-7B engines and will be worth $600 million to engine maker CFM International.

Also yesterday, Boeing Commercials Airplanes chief executive Alan Mulally repeated the U.S. manufacturer’s oft-stated position (not to say mantra) that international agreements covering assistance to industry were between the European Union and the U.S., not between companies. “The 1992 agreement said both sides would move toward zero support, and that’s a mechanism we all signed up to. I’m sure Europe will agree to honor the agreement.”

Institutionalized Aid

Mulally said reference to local state aid available to Boeing, or a deal to forego assistance from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration or indirect Japanese subsidies–as suggested by Airbus acting chief executive Noël Forgeard here–were nothing to do with the 1992 agreement. “We support moves to stop launch aid. Europe not only has not stopped granting aid–it has institutionalized it. We document everything [we receive] every year, and we are in compliance,” Mulally said.

Mulally also confirmed that Boeing has delayed decisions on winding up production of the soon-to-be-replaced 767 twin-aisle twinjet or its 747 quad-jet flagship. “We thought we might have to announce the [future] conclusion of the 767 later this year, but that’s not the case because demand has been increasing,” with airlines said to see the aging design as a bridge until availability of the replacement 787 in not less than three years’ time. But he conceded that demand for the 747-400 is mainly for freighter aircraft.

On the question of a further iteration of the 747-400, Mulally said Boeing had waited for completion of new engines planned for the 787 that could be fitted to the larger aircraft: “so we’re looking at doing that”–a judgment that he expected would be covered at the next Boeing board of directors meeting at the end of this month.

Boeing projects 320 new aircraft deliveries this year (compared with 350 to 360 by Airbus) and 375 to 385 in 2006. The company already has sold out 86 percent of next year’s production, said Mulally.