Boeing Gains Altitude As Airbus Stalls

Boeing scored a major victory when Singapore Airlines (SIA) ordered 20 of its new mid-size jets while production delays plague its European rival Airbus, analysts said June 15. SIA announced on June 14 an order for 20 Boeing 787 aircraft worth $4.5 billion , just hours after publicly expressing displeasure over a fresh postponement in the delivery of the much-vaunted Airbus A380 super jumbo jet.

SIA, Asia's most profitable carrier, was supposed to be the first airline in the world to launch A380 commercial services and has spent a lot of resources to publicize the feat, only to be told this week it will have to wait longer.SIA insists that the 787 order had no connection with the A380's woes.

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), which owns 80% of Airbus, lost about 5.5 billion euros or more than one-quarter of its market value June 14 after the further A380 delivery delays were announced.

The 250- to 290-seater Boeing 787 ordered by SIA -- with 20 additional planes on option -- is competing against the Airbus A350, whose development has also been delayed by design changes. "It is a setback to Airbus as 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners is a big order coming from an airline that Airbus hoped would make a significant order for the Airbus A350," said Jason Pereira, an airline analyst with research and advisory firm Globalysis Ltd. in Singapore.

The SIA contract, the largest for the 787 since Australia's Qantas ordered up to 115 jets in January, will restore Boeing as the number one in the world faster than anticipated, Pereira said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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