Boeing, Airbus net big orders for narrow-body jets

By Julie Johnsson
Posted Jan. 4 at 8:59 a.m.

Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS are ringing in the the new year with large aircraft order announcements for their popular narrow-body jets.

Finance company CIT Group Inc. ordered 38 next-generation Boeing 737s worth about $3.2 billion at list price. This is the largest order CIT has placed with Chicago-based Boeing and a sign the commercial lender intends to remain a player in the aircraft leasing business after emerging from bankruptcy last year.

The order should also assuage some analyst fears that Boeing would lose customers for its popular 737 family by not updating the jets with newer engines, which rival Airbus is doing for its narrow-body aircraft.

New York-based CIT’s order of 15 longer-range 737-900ERs and 23 737-800s is the largest order placed by a leasing company for the next generation 737s.

European discount carrier EasyJet signed a contract for 15 Airbus A320s and to convert an existing order for 20 A319s to the larger A320, worth about $1.2 billion at 2010 list prices. Airlines typically negotiate sizable discounts for significant orders.

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