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Originally published December 29, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 29, 2006 at 9:52 PM

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2006 is record-breaking year for Boeing commercial jet orders

With two days to go before year-end, the 2006 commercial sales total stands at 1,014 net jet orders, compared to 1,002 net orders last year.

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

With a rush of last-minute commercial jet sales, Boeing has broken its remarkable 2005 record order tally.

Boeing spokesman Randy Harrison said, that with two days to go before year-end, the 2006 sales total stands at 1,014 net jet orders, compared to 1,002 net orders last year.

Boeing sealed 110 of those orders in the last nine days, including a large order finalized Friday from Korean Air that pushed the total over the top.

European rival Airbus trailed Boeing mid-month by more than 200 orders, so Boeing's strong finish to the year virtually ensures it will outsell Airbus for the first time since 2000.

In addition, because Boeing's orders include a much bigger proportion of the expensive widebody jets, the value of its orders should be about 75 percent higher than the value of Airbus orders.

The Korean order for 10 777-300ERs, five 747-8 Freighters, five 777 Freighters and five 737s was first announced in November and is worth $5.6 billion at list prices. The actual purchase price is estimated at around $3.2 billion, based on data from aircraft valuation firm Avitas.

Boeing claims the total as a new sales record, even though there's no solid comparable net order figure available for 1989 — a year when the gross sales total was slightly higher if you include sales by McDonnell Douglas, which merged with Boeing in 1997.

In any case, the last two years have been unprecedented for Boeing as a single company. As this year's order lead over Airbus translates into deliveries over the next few years, Boeing is poised to regain the title of the world's No. 1 commercial airplane company.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com

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