United puts final touches on major Boeing 737 order: sources

Thu May 3, 2012 11:29pm EDT
 
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By Kyle Peterson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - United Airlines is putting the finishing touches on an order for at least 100 Boeing Co 737 narrowbody jets potentially worth $10 billion at list prices, industry sources said on Thursday.

The order could increase to as many as 200 jets if United exercises about 100 options to buy other narrowbodies. The deal will feature mainly Boeing's upcoming 737 MAX, an upgraded, fuel-efficient version of the company's best-selling 737, said the sources who are close to the negotiations.

The sources declined to be identified because the negotiations are private and the deal is not yet final.

The order will also include some of the current model of the 737, the Next-Generation, they said. The sources said the two sides were still deciding the number of Next Generation 737s that will be part of the order.

The deal could be completed in the next few weeks, and the number of firm orders is still subject to change, the sources said.

A spokeswoman for United's parent, United Continental Holdings, declined to comment as did a Boeing spokesman.

TOUGH COMPETITION

Negotiations for this order have been underway since last year with both Boeing and its European rival Airbus bidding. Industry watchers had expected the number of firm orders to be closer to 200, and that the order could be split between the two plane makers.   Continued...

 
An undated artist’s rendering of a 737 MAX 9 with new Advanced Technology winglets is seen in this handout Boeing image released to Reuters May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Boeing/Handout