Boeing Co. (BA:US) said it is on schedule to publicly commit to building its 777X aircraft this year, readying a competitor to Airbus SAS’s wide-body A350, as Emirates and Etihad Airways discuss orders with the world’s largest planemaker.
“We’re talking to all 777 customers,” Randy Tinseth, Boeing vice president of marketing, said in Tokyo today. The Chicago-based company’s board has yet to publicly commit to producing the 777X, and Tinseth declined to give a date.
Boeing faces rising competition in Japan after Japan Airlines Co., the nation’s second-largest airline, ordered as many as 56 of Airbus A350 wide-body planes earlier this month, the first for JAL from the European planemaker. Deutsche Lufthansa AG made a commitment last month to buy 34 777Xs.
“As soon as we launch the 777X, we look forward to making them firm orders,” Tinseth said, referring to the Lufthansa agreement. The 777X “addresses the medium wide-body market.”
Emirates, the largest operator of Boeing 777 aircraft, is poised to place an “enormous” order for the new, larger version of the twin-engine jet, Tim Clark, the carrier’s president, said in an interview earlier this month.
Etihad is in talks to buy as many as 30 of Boeing’s 777X jets, a deal with a list value of about $10.2 billion, people familiar with the matter said yesterday.
ANA Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest carrier, is considering Boeing’s next generation 777 or the Airbus A350 for an order of 25 new wide-body jets, President Shinichiro Ito said in an interview last month.
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