Air Canada appears close to buying up to 60 jets -sources

Fri Dec 6, 2013 3:00pm EST
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By Tim Hepher

Dec 6 (Reuters) - Air Canada appears close to deciding whether to buy up to 60 new narrowbody jets from Airbus or Boeing Co, a decision that could settle which of the giant plane makers wins their annual order race, industry sources said.

The Canadian flag carrier has said it is looking to renew its fleet of single-aisle aircraft, which currently includes more than 50 Airbus A320 and A321 jets, as well as 45 Embraer 190 planes.

Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu had previously said he hopes a decision will be made by the end of the year, noting the decision would involve more than 100 airplanes.

A spokesman for Air Canada said no decision had been made, but two people familiar with the matter said a decision could come as early as next week when the airline's board meets.

The airline spokesman declined to comment on the timing of any board discussions.

"We typically don't talk about board meetings," said Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick, who also declined to comment on the board's agenda. "I can tell you on the record that no decision has been made."

Industry sources said Air Canada was expected to address its fleet renewal needs in two phases, starting with a decision on whether to stick with Airbus for medium-haul jets, and pick its revamped A320neo version, or switch to the Boeing 737 MAX.

Both plane makers claim their latest medium-haul offerings provide better fuel savings and easier maintenance.   Continued...