Airbus bags firm orders worth $39 billion at show

Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:29am EDT
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By Maria Sheahan and Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) - European planemaker Airbus EAD.PA clinched deals for another 90 planes on Thursday, taking its total orders and commitments at the Paris Airshow to 466 aircraft worth $68.7 billion at list prices.

The tally includes firm purchase orders for 241 planes worth $39.3 billion, Airbus told a news conference at the show.

EADS-owned EAD.PA Airbus pushed back its traditional end-of-show round-up to enable it to squeeze out a final wave of orders from Hong Kong Aviation Capital, Spirit Airlines (SAVE.O: Quote) and United Airlines (UAL.N: Quote).

United, which earlier this week became one of the launch customers for U.S. planemaker Boeing's (BA.N: Quote) new 787-10 Dreamliner model, signed a firm deal for Airbus' competing A350-1000 aircraft, worth $3.3 billion.

Airbus said its answer to the Dreamliner had successfully completed its second flight on Wednesday and would fly past the air show this week, adding it had no plans to drop the smallest of the three versions of the A350, the A350-800.

"When you're production-constrained, as you all know we are, you want to not sell your smallest and least profitable plane," Airbus sales chief John Leahy said at the news conference.

"That is why we're concentrating on 900s and 1000s and on converting 900s into 1000s. I know there's been some wishful thinking in Seattle that we will drop the A350-800," he quipped, in a reference to Boeing.

United also converted its previous order for 25 A350-900s to the -1000 model on Thursday, though Airbus said it did not include conversions in its air show tally.   Continued...

Airbus' Chairman and CEO Fabrice Bregier (L) and Airbus sales chief John Leahy attend a final news conference at the 50th Paris Air Show, at the Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol