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Airbus wins massive order

June 19, 2001 Posted: 1702 GMT

LONDON (CNN) -- Airbus Industrie said it won an order for more than 100 aircraft from U.S.-based International Lease Finance worth about $9.4 billion.

International Lease, a unit of U.S. insurance company American International Group (AIG: Research, Estimates), said on Tuesday it placed firm orders for 80 A320 aircraft, 21 A330s jets and 5 Airbus A380 planes.

graphicAirbus Chief Executive Noel Forgeard expects the European challenger to Boeing's dominance of the skies to walk away from this week's Paris Air Show with more than 300 orders from airlines.

The latest success comes on the back of Monday's $2.5 billion order from New York- based low-cost airline JetBlue. Other orders trickled in from Air France and Royal Air Maroc. Before the show started, Airbus had racked up 144 orders this year for its stable of aircraft.

Boeing (BA: Research, Estimates), the dominant commercial aircraft maker, expects to notch up around 400 orders this year, Alan Mulally, the head of its commercial airplane division, told reporters on Tuesday. The industry expects commercial jet orders this year of about 800 to 900.

To date, Seattle-based Boeing has booked orders for 169 new planes in 2001.

International Lease agreed to buy 87 new jets, including five new A380 super jumbos at last years Farnborough International Airshow in England. The U.S leasing company signed a final contract for those five A380-800 passenger jets on Tuesday.

Airbus, 80 percent owned by European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co. (PEAD) and 20 percent by British weapons builder BAE Systems (BA-), and International Lease did not place a value on the latest deal, but the list price of an A380 is around $230 million.

Airbus plans to bound ahead in the big jet liner market -- stealing Boeing's 30-year dominance of that sector -- with its plans to build the 555-seat double-deck A380 aircraft.

Boeing has give up on it plans to build a stretched version of its 747 jumbo jet, after it failed to win any orders, and will now woo airlines with its planned "sonic-cruiser" that is expected to fly close to the speed of sound.

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