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Originally published March 7, 2011 at 6:03 PM | Page modified March 8, 2011 at 7:03 PM

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Corrected version

Boeing gets $6B in orders at Hong Kong air show

Boeing won massive orders in China at the Hong Kong air show Tuesday, including the largest Dreamliner order in three years and a much-needed sales boost for Boeing's new 747-8 jumbo passenger jet.

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Boeing won massive orders in China at the Hong Kong air show Tuesday, including the largest Dreamliner order in three years and a much-needed sales boost for Boeing's new 747-8 jumbo passenger jet.

The orders for 43 wide-body planes are worth nearly $6 billion after typical discounts, and more than $10 billion at list prices.

On the opening day of the Asian Aerospace show, Hong Kong Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding for 32 Dreamliners and six 777 freighter jets.

Separately, Chinese flag carrier Air China announced an order for five 747-8 Intercontinental passenger planes.

At list prices, the Hong Kong Airlines order is worth $8.5 billion. With standard discounts, the actual value estimated by aircraft-valuation firm Avitas is just over $5 billion.

The Dreamliner order consists of 30 of the larger model 787-9s and two VIP versions of the initial 787-8 model.

It's the first Dreamliner order commitment this year. When finalized, it will bring the 787 sales tally up to 875.

Sales had slowed after the many program delays, and recently Boeing had lost orders due to cancellations, so this deal comes as a welcome reaffirmation of confidence in the new jet.

Hong Kong Airlines is part of the HNA Group of airlines, the largest of which is Hainan Airlines.

The order confirms that the larger 787-9, seating 250 to 290 passengers, is gaining appeal with airlines. Though at the moment it accounts for less than 30 percent of total Dreamliner orders, many analysts believe it could eventually be the more popular version.

The Air China deal buoys the prospects of Boeing's latest and largest version of the jumbo jet, which has faced slow sales.

Air China becomes the third airline to order the passenger version.

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That order is worth $1.6 billion at list prices. With the expected discounts, based on Avitas data, the real value is about $830 million.

The new 747-8 features a new wing, an upgraded flight deck and modified versions of the 787 Dreamliner's General Electric engines.

It carries 467 passengers in a three-class configuration.

Air China is one of the world's largest airlines and has been flying earlier models of the 747 since the 1980s.

Previously, Germany's Lufthansa had ordered 20 of the new passenger planes, and Korean Air had ordered five of the passenger models and five of the freighter models.

In addition, there have been eight orders for the VIP version of the airplane.

The government of Kuwait has ordered two of them, including the first one that rolled out of Boeing's Everett factory to great fanfare last month.

For the rollout, that jet sported an orange, red and gold paint job designed to appeal to Asian airlines.

Boeing also has 74 orders for the freighter version of the 747-8, which is to deliver first to air-cargo carrier Cargolux of Luxembourg around midyear.

Although Boeing has a definitive agreement with Air China, it will not immediately book the order. It will await formal approval from the Chinese government, which is expected soon.

When the order is booked, the total 747-8 sales tally will rise to 112.

Asian Aerospace, China's biggest commercial-aviation show, runs through Thursday.

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

Information in this article, originally published March 7, 2011, was corrected March 8, 2011. A previous version of this story said Korean Air had orderd 10 passenger versions of Boeing's 747-8. Korean Air actually ordered five passenger models and another five freighter models.

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