Boeing landed the most anticipated large aircraft order of the year Tuesday evening, as Australian airline Qantas announced a firm order for 45 Boeing 787 jets, worth more than $8 billion at list prices and the expectation of a total of 100 eventually.

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Boeing landed the most anticipated large aircraft order of the year Tuesday evening, as Australian airline Qantas announced a firm order for 45 Boeing 787 jets, worth more than $8 billion at list prices and the expectation of a total of 100 eventually.

The deal includes 20 further options, and “purchase rights” on more if required later.

“We regard the firm (orders) and the options as basically a done deal,” said Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon in a teleconference. “Given that we are committed to this particular aircraft .. we would expect to be taking up over a period of years round about 100.”

“It’s a very clear commercial winner for Boeing with the 787, and a very merry Christmas to Boeing,” said Qantas Chairman Margaret Jackson.

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At the same time, Qantas also rejected ultra-long-range aircraft offerings from both Boeing and Airbus. Dixon said that neither the Airbus A340 nor the 777-200LR met its range requirments for a Sydney-to-London non-stop serrvice.

And Dixon said the carrier will decide later on its large aircraft needs, choosing at that time between the Airbus superjumbo A380 and the new version of the Boeing 747 jumbo jet.

Airbus and Boeing have battled for this order for months, with competing billboards outside the Qantas headquarters in Sydney and multiple visits by sales teams and high-level executives. Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Alan Mulally met Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon twice this year.

A week ago, the Qantas board postponed the long-awaited decision to give the manufacturers time to negotiate final sales offers and discounts.

“The best wine came from the Airbus side,” Dixon joked, “Unfortunately, (the Airbus offering) never made the grade.”

The 787 now has a total of 354 announced commitments from 26 customers, of which 229 are firm orders.