Orders for big jets make a splash in Paris

Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:37am EDT
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By Siva Govindasamy and Brenda Goh

PARIS (Reuters) - Big finance waded into a rain-soaked Paris Airshow with more than $10 billion in orders for jumbo passenger jets as planemakers dueled over strategy for large aircraft on Monday.

The world's biggest aircraft lessor, a unit of General Electric (GE.N: Quote), became the second buyer to endorse a larger version of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, weeks after the lightweight jet went back into service after a three-month grounding.

Confirming a Reuters report, the GECAS subsidiary said it would sign up for 10 of the stretched 787-10 passenger planes, joining a $30 billion order haul that industry sources say Boeing is assembling to formally launch the jet on Tuesday.

And an influential German leasing company, Doric Asset Finance, little known outside the specialist world of aviation financing, splashed out on 20 Airbus EAD.PA A380 superjumbos worth $8 billion at list prices to anticipate rising demand.

Total orders on day one of the world's largest aerospace event swelled to more than $30 billion in three hours as heavy rain lashed the Le Bourget pavilions.

But, despite the early flurry, the number of orders this year was expected to be down on the last Paris show in 2011, GECAS chief executive Norman Liu told reporters.

"It is shifting to more of a wide-body story," he said, referring to long-haul jets seating anywhere from 200 people on small wide-bodies to 525 on the double-decker A380.

Doric, which is already involved in financing A380 jets for Emirates airline, the aircraft's largest operator, said its deal would be finalized in months, with deliveries to start in 2016.   Continued...

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (L) and Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier pose in an Airbus A350 passenger aircraft cockpit replica during the opening visit of the 50th Paris Air Show, at Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 17, 2013. The air show runs from June 17 to 23. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer