Boeing said on Monday that it is poised to eat up on the seven-year lead of its European rival, Airbus, with the full unleash of two premier offerings - the fuel efficient 737-MAX and the elegant 787 Dreamliner.
The American aircraft manufacturer disclosed that it secured a $US7.2 billion order from U.S. Air Lease Corp for 75 units of the new plane, which Airbus has been touting as its answer to the A320-NEO that Airbus had unveiled in December 2010.
The latest contract is on top of the 23 737-MAX that Virgin Australia said last week it ordered from Boeing, deliverable over the next 10 years.
Apart from the 787 and the 737, Boeing also reportedly plans to upgrade its bestselling 777 mini-jumbo jet, with likely intents of issuing another version of the 787-10, purportedly to rack up its chances in the current year to compete head-to-head with Airbus.
The company is also keeping a moist eye on defence contracts, which Reuters said in the U.S. alone could fetch plane assemblers as much as $US500 billion over the next few years, that is if they get a dominant hold of what the American government plans to spend to acquire new aircrafts for the world's most powerful air force.
Boeing is mostly betting on the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, which manoeuvres and speeds up like a usual combat plane but carries the distinction of taking off and landing like a chopper, to attract Pentagon's and other countries' attention.
Buoyed by the undiminished interests still generated by the trusty F-15 and F/A-18 fighter jets, Boeing has indicated that the fighter aircrafts will remain available in the market, most likely getting the necessary updates in the process to keep customers' attention.
Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney is counting on Ray Conner, the company's Commercial Airplanes chief, to take lead for the U.S. firm to finally gain the upperhand this year after tailing Airbus since 2006.
Mr McNerney told Reuters that from the 40 percent market shares it cornered last year, Boeing is all set to keep Airbus at bay for a number of years, confident that the Dreamliner and the MAX, though marred by delays, will carry the torch for Boeing.
Attending the Farnborough Airshow in England this week, Mr Conner told reporters that he is very much confident with the current product line-up of Boeing.
"We have a terrific machine now ... (and) we are focused on producing and winning," Mr Conner said.
But Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier appears confident that his firm will remain on top and will replicate and even surpass its achievements last year.
"I am pretty sure that, since we launched the NEO by the end of 2012, we will still be ahead of Boeing with their product," Mr Bregier told Reuters.
From the 1000 NEO units that Airbus had attracted in last year's Paris show, Mr Bregier predicted that 650 more will be snapped by airlines around world this year.
The MAX and the NEO answer the latest trend among carriers to upgrade their respective fleets of aircrafts that ensure lower fuel consumption while extending air mileage.
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