British Airways Purchase A Blow To Boeing

It is not a big deal in terms of huge world aircraft orders. But British Airways (BA) has disappointed Boeing by announcing it is to turn to European rival Airbus Industries for up to 24 100-seater jets. The deal is an upset for the American manufacturer because it is struggling to find buyers for its own 100-seat 717 aircraft. However, the BA deal with Airbus is good news for Pratt & Whitney, which will supply the engines. BA has traditionally made Boeing its one-stop supplier. But the British carrier broke that habit last year when it bought its first Airbus aircraft. Boeing had been speculating on winning the new BA order when it agreed to buy back 34 older Boeing 757s from BA. These are to be turned into cargo planes and resold to DHL, the international freight carrier. Boeing's problems in marketing the 717 stem from its inheritance of the program from McDonnell Douglas, which it acquired two years ago. The 717 has different flight systems from other Boeing aircraft, while the Airbus aircrafts share a common system. The Airbus A318 is preferred by the British and also is regarded by the purchaser as more economical to operate, and also has a higher potential resale value than the 717.

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