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Leasing giants order 20 Boeings.

Aircraft leasing giant International Lease Finance Corporation has quietly ordered 20 Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" jets valued at $2.4 billion, the first major leasing company to sign up for the US firm's newest jetliner ILFC, a subsidiary of American International Group, completed the deal late last week but apparently requested that Boeing - a major source of work for aircraft component makers in the West Midlands - post the orders on its web site as "unidentified" until later, according to one report in the US.

John Plueger, president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles-based leasing company, declined to comment.

Boeing spokesman Tom Downey would only say that the company was deferring to its customer's wishes..

An order from ILFC for the Boeing jetliner has been expected for several months. During the Paris Air Show in June, ILFC chief executive Steven Udvar-Hazy said his company was in talks with both Boeing and European competitor Airbus, owned by EADS and BAE Systems, for their newest planes.

He said at the time that ILFC was looking at ordering about 20 aircraft and that it was closer to a deal with Boeing.

Because ILFC is the largest provider of aeroplanes on operating leases in the world, its endorsement is seen as important to the success of any new model. ILFC has a fleet of more than 700 jetliners valued at more than $36 billion.

It is believed that ILFC used its leverage as Boeing's largest single customer to get a substantial discount from the 787's list price of $120 million per aeroplane.

In addition, the leasing company secured an undisclosed number of potentially lucrative early delivery positions, even though the aeroplane is largely sold out through 2010.

The 787 is scheduled to enter service in mid-2008. A competing plane from Airbus is not expected to enter service until 2010.

With the ILFC order, Boeing has 293 commitments for 787s from 24 customers. Of those, 194 are listed as firm orders. Airbus, which began selling its A350 plane in December, has 143 commitments from ten customers

CAPTION(S):

The Boeing 787 will fly the skies of the UK in First Choice Airways livery beginning in 2009. First Choice plans to acquire six 787-8 jetliners
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 18, 2005
Words:369
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