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Originally published November 12, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 12, 2007 at 9:28 AM

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Boeing loses big order to Airbus at air show

Boeing lost to Airbus the largest remaining jet order of the year at the Dubai Airshow on Sunday, when Emirates chose Airbus' A350 over...

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Boeing lost to Airbus the largest remaining jet order of the year at the Dubai Airshow on Sunday, when Emirates chose Airbus' A350 over Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

The outcome could cost Boeing the annual orders race with Airbus.

Dubai-based Emirates ordered 50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s and took options on 50 more A350-900s.

The ambitious carrier also rejected the new bigger 747 Boeing is offering and instead ordered more A380 superjumbos.

Emirates firmed up orders for eight A380s and placed firm orders for an additional three of the double-decker aircraft. Emirates now has 58 of the giant A380s on firm order.

As small consolation, Emirates also ordered 12 Boeing 777-300ERs.

Tim Clark, Emirates president, explaining the decision to choose the A350 over the 787, pointed to the larger size of the Airbus airplane.

Emirates had tried to persuade Boeing to fast track a 787-10 stretch version of the Dreamliner, bigger than the three variants offered. But Boeing did not produce what Clark wanted.

"The 787-9 wasn't suitable for us and the 787-10 wasn't available to us," Clark told Bloomberg News.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Scott Carson said, "We didn't have the airplane they wanted at this time."

Clark said Emirates is willing to talk to Boeing when the 787-10 is available.

The A350 is due to enter service in 2013, five years after the 787. However, with the 787 sales success, the Dreamliner is almost sold out that far so timing of delivery for any new orders is about the same for both jets.

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Any Boeing expectation that Emirates might go for the 747-8, the new stretch version of its venerable jumbo jet, disappeared last week when the airplane manufacturer announced a firm configuration for the airplane.

The announced design choice closed the possibility of meeting Clark's request for a shorter, longer-range version of the airplane.

The total Emirates firm order with Airbus is valued at $20 billion, using list prices. But allowing for standard discounts, based on market estimates by aircraft valuation firm Avitas, the deal is worth around $11.4 billion.

The Emirates 777 order is valued at $3.2 billion, using list prices. Using Avitas market valuations, the deal is worth about $1.8 billion after discounts.

At the end of September, the Airbus order total for the year stood at 854 gross orders or 791 net after cancellations. As of last week, Boeing had 956 net orders.

If Boeing had won the Emirates 787 order, the company's sales tally for the year would certainly have topped that of Airbus. But with the Dubai win plus additional orders Airbus has snagged this fall, the race is likely neck and neck.

Also at the air show, in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar Airways finally announced its order for 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, an order booked by Boeing back in April and already accounted for in the orders tally. Qatar likewise announced a previously booked order for five 777 freighter jets.

The total Qatar order with Boeing is valued at $6.1 billion using list prices. Based on Avitas estimates, it's worth about $4 billion after discounts.

Material from Reuters and Bloomberg News was included in this report. Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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