Los Angeles-based aircraft leasing giant International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC) has ordered 20 787s, providing an important seal of approval...

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Los Angeles-based aircraft leasing giant International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC) has ordered 20 787s, providing an important seal of approval from Boeing’s largest customer.

The list price of the order is $2.6 billion, though ILFC likely got a steep discount.

After a brief 787 sales lull since the summer, the deal pushes the 787 firm-order tally to just shy of 200.

This is the opening of what promises to be a hectic order rush for Boeing from now until the end of the year. At least two more large 787 orders are expected to be made firm this month or next.

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ILFC booked the order unannounced last week. Boeing tallied the sale on its Web site Thursday but did not identify the customer. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news online last night. A person familiar with the order confirmed the details.

ILFC Chairman and Chief Executive Steven Udvar-Hazy said at the Paris Air Show in June that he was in talks to buy the new jet. Because he is highly regarded as a shrewd market-maker, his vote of confidence is a big boost for the 787 program.

Last week, the Indian government approved a large order, including 20 firm 787 orders. That sale should be final soon.

And an order from Air Canada, which included 14 firm 787 orders, is also expected to be revived and finalized within weeks.

Boeing now has 194 firm orders for the 787, bringing the total of orders and publicly announced commitments to 293.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963