Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lufthansa places USD$4 billion aircraft order

German flagship carrier Lufthansa said on Wednesday its supervisory board had approved orders for 30 new passenger jets from Airbus and five new cargo planes from Boeing.

The total planned Lufthansa order is worth USD$4 billion at list prices, including USD$1.3 billion for Boeing.

Deliveries for the Airbus planes are scheduled to begin in 2016, the airline said in a statement.

Twenty-five A320neo and five A321neo aircraft will fly on Lufthansa's continental passenger routes.

Lufthansa said it would also receive five new Boeing 777 freighters beginning in 2013.

"They will be utilized to seize growth opportunities fueled by rising demand," Lufthansa said.

Lufthansa's fleet comprised 722 aircraft at the end of 2009, including carriers it added in a shopping spree completed last year, such as Austrian Airlines and bmi.

The A320neo -- for "new engine option" -- is a family of revamped A320 passenger planes with more efficient engines that Airbus plans to introduce from 2016.

The plan has sparked a battle with Boeing over strategy in the cash-generating market for narrow-body medium-haul jets.

Lufthansa's order, which remained to be finalized, brings to just over 300 the number of orders for A320neo-family jets in the pipeline on top of firm orders for 30 of the planes.

Boeing has said it is considering building a new version of its popular 737 aircraft to counter the move by Airbus.

Narrow-body jets are the backbone of most airline fleets.


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