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Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co.’s 777, its most profitable jet, may bring in record orders this year as airlines seek more fuel-efficient long-haul planes and Airbus SAS extends development of its A350, an executive for the U.S. company said.
“It’s been a real banner year for the 777,” Larry Loftis, the model’s program chief, said in an interview today in Everett, Washington. He was watching workers prepare to start assembling wings for the 1,000th jet, which is to be completed in February and delivered to Emirates airline in March.
With 132 of the planes ordered in this year’s first 10 months, the 777 has “a good chance” of beating its 2005 peak of 154, Loftis said.
Boeing is boosting output of the 777 by 19 percent during the next 1 1/2 years, to 8.3 a month, largely by streamlining production processes. The Chicago-based company will keep driving those efficiencies to create more capacity, Loftis said. He said he sees demand for the 777 “being strong like this for quite a few years to come,” especially as Airbus pushes out the development time on its competing A350-1000.
Airbus may give an update on the A350 program tomorrow, when parent company European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. reports quarterly earnings.
Loftis said “it wouldn’t surprise me” if more contracts for 777s were signed at the Dubai air show next week. He declined to give specifics ahead of customers’ announcements.
The 1,000th 777 will be Emirates’s 102nd. The carrier is the largest operator of the model.
Emirates is expanding around the world, and Abdulla Shams, an executive based near Boeing’s factory to oversee the airline’s purchases, said today that the 777 being built now will be used to start a new route between Seattle and Dubai.
--Editors: John Lear, Niamh Ring
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