Boeing, the world's second-largest commercial-airplane maker, said yesterday EgyptAir ordered six 737-800 airliners amid rising Middle East...

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Boeing, the world’s second-largest commercial-airplane maker, said yesterday EgyptAir ordered six 737-800 airliners amid rising Middle East air travel.

Including an option to buy an additional six 737-800s, the order was valued at as much as $850 million. That excludes discounts traditionally given to airline customers, Boeing said.

Boeing and rival Airbus are benefiting as deregulation and economic growth in the Middle East and Asia spur travel demand. Mideast air travel rose 15 percent last year over 2003, according to the International Air Transportation Association, which tracks world air travel.

Deliveries of the 737-800s will begin in September 2006 and end in December 2009, Boeing said.

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EgyptAir has four Boeing 737-500s, five 777-200s and two 747-300s among its mixed fleet. Its remaining planes are Airbus airliners, EgyptAir’s Web site says.

Separately, Boeing said Turkish Airlines will exercise options for eight 737-800s to be delivered in 2008. The additional planes are valued at about $542 million at list prices.

The options were part of an order placed by Turkish Airlines in 2004 for 15 Boeing 737s.

Boeing, Lockheed venture gets EU nod

Lockheed Martin and Boeing secured European Union antitrust approval for a venture to combine their services in launching rockets for the U.S. government.

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator in Brussels, said in a statement yesterday it had concluded the venture wouldn’t impede competition in commercial-launch services in Europe.

The 50-50 joint venture, United Launch Alliance, is expected to save the U.S. government about $100 million to $150 million a year, the companies said in May.

United Launch Alliance, based in Denver, is still awaiting U.S. approval, Boeing spokesman Dan Beck said.

Bloomberg News