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Boeing jet gets $95 billion in orders

Sales show shift in aviation money

Boeing chairman James McNerney showed a model of the new 777X to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the United Arab Emirates’ prime minister and ruler of Dubai.

Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

Boeing chairman James McNerney showed a model of the new 777X to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the United Arab Emirates’ prime minister and ruler of Dubai.

NEW YORK — Three Middle Eastern airlines signed up Sunday to buy 225 of Boeing’s new 777X jets, helping to bring the initial batch of orders for the plane to $95 billion, a strong start for sales of the commercial jet.

That total, based on list prices, includes 34 jets Lufthansa had previously said it would order. The latest deals came on the first day of the Dubai Airshow, as airlines from the Persian Gulf region announced more than $150 billion in orders for a variety of planes.

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The flood of orders highlighted how the big money in aviation is shifting to the Middle East and Asia; orders from the region also provided a boost to Airbus’s beleaguered A380 jumbo jet, the world’s largest passenger plane.

The airline Emirates, which ordered 150 of the 777Xs, said it would also buy 50 more A380s, which have had disappointing sales overall.

The A380 deal would be worth $23 billion at list prices, though Boeing and Airbus offer undisclosed discounts on nearly all of their sales.

Airbus is under pressure to revive interest in the A380. The plane has had no buyers so far this year, and Airbus has said that the lack of demand could result in a cut in production.

Still, the biggest news from the air show was the formal rollout of the twin-engine 777X, which will provide a more fuel-efficient replacement for Boeing’s popular 777 jets by about 2020.

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Boeing executives reiterated Saturday that they would consider several sites to build the plane after union machinists in Washington state resoundingly rejected a proposed contract extension last week.

The updated 777 will have new engines and lighter-weight carbon composite wings and will save 12 percent on fuel costs compared with rival planes, Boeing said.

It will come in two versions: a 777-9X, which will be able to fly more than 400 passengers for up to 8,200 nautical miles, and a 777-8X, which will seat 350 passengers but fly more than 9,300 nautical miles.

Boeing said the planes, which are still being designed, would be formally named later. Production is scheduled to begin in 2017.

Besides the order from Emirates for 150 of the planes, Etihad Airways announced that it would buy 25 of the 777Xs. Emirates and Etihad are both based in the United Arab Emirates. Qatar Airways said it would buy 50 of the new jets.

All told, Boeing said it received orders on the first day of the air show for 342 planes, including 737s and its new 787 Dreamliner.

That included the 1,000th order for Dreamliner, the first passenger jet made substantially with carbon composites to reduce weight and fuel costs.

The 777X and the 787 will both compete with Airbus’ forthcoming A350 family of jets, which also will be made extensively with carbon composites.

The A350 models have already picked up several orders from customers who had traditionally bought Boeing planes.

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