Orders top $100 billion as Ryanair gives Boeing a boost

Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:31am EDT
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By Alwyn Scott and Maria Sheahan

PARIS (Reuters) - Orders at the Paris Airshow surpassed $100 billion on Wednesday, as planemakers Boeing and Airbus cashed in on demand for fuel-efficient jets and growth in both budget carriers and emerging markets.

Ryanair, Europe's biggest low-cost airline, finalized an order for 175 Boeing 737-800 aircraft worth around $15.6 billion at list prices on day three of the aerospace industry's showcase event, the largest single order ever placed by a European airline with the U.S. group.

Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said he was also working on an order for 200 or more of Boeing's next-generation 737 MAX planes that could be concluded this year, potentially worth around $20 billion at list prices.

Not to be overshadowed, Airbus sealed a long-awaited order for 25 of its lightweight, wide-body A350 planes from Air France-KLM worth $7.2 billion at list prices, as previously reported by Reuters.

It also firmed up a deal worth $8.6 billion for 30 more A350-900s from Singapore Airlines, taking the total on order from the carrier to 70.

The A350, which made its maiden flight on Friday, is Airbus' answer to Boeing's popular carbon-composite 787 Dreamliner, and the battle between the two models has been a key feature of the Paris show as the planemakers jostle to meet soaring demand for air travel in emerging markets, especially Asia and the Middle East.

"This show is about wide-bodies," said Kelly Ortberg, president of Rockwell Collins, which supplies major systems to the 787 and A350. "And really good news for wide-bodies."

Boeing bagged nearly $30 billion in orders as it launched the 787-10 on Tuesday, a stretched variant of its high-tech Dreamliner.   Continued...

President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Ray Conner (R) and Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary share a light hearted moment as they pose during a signing ceremony at the 50th Paris Air Show, at the Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol