Billions for Boeing

Japan Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines announced today that they have placed orders worth around $3.22 billion for a total of 40 Boeing 737 and 787 passenger aircraft.

Japan Airlines plans to buy 30 Boeing 737s, with options for 10 additional small passenger aircraft in the same class. The airline aims to conclude the $1.92 billion deal in the spring.

JAL said in a statement that it is ordering the new aircraft in response to increased capacity at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport’s and an increase in demand for flights. JAL added that it selected the 737 to minimise the number of aircraft types in its fleet.

The aircraft are scheduled to enter service on JAL’s domestic network in 2006.

Ethiopian Airlines today placed a $1.3 billion order for 10 Boeing 787 passenger jets. The order, comprised of five firm and five optional aircraft, makes the carrier the first Africa-based operator of the new 787.

Ethiopian said that it ordered the aircraft, formerly known as the 7E7, for its ‘outstanding technical, performance and economic features’. The airline also said the availability of the 787, two years earlier than its nearest competitor, was a crucial factor.

Ethiopian Airlines will evaluate two engine alternatives, the GENX from General Electric and the Trent 1000 from Rolls Royce, and make its engine selection for the 787 at a later date.

Separately, Boeing confirmed yesterday that it has reached a preliminary agreement with Libya’s Buraq Air for the airline to purchase up to six Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 airplanes.

The agreement, worth up to $370 million at list prices, initially involves three airplanes, with the Tripoli-based carrier holding options for three additional airplanes. Final terms of the agreement are subject to additional discussions.