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Air Show Draws Boeing 787, Nearly 200 Orders

The 2010 Farnborough Air Show in England got off to a big start as the Boeing (BA - Get Report) 787 made its international debut landing on Sunday, and the aircraft orders came in faster than expected on Monday.

"I can't think of a finer stage on which to present this highly anticipated airplane," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program.

Airbus and Boeing announced 189 orders on the first day, more than twice the total orders at last year's show. "I don't think people thought it would be that high, certainly not on day one," said aviation consultant Scott Hamilton, speaking on an Air Insight LLC podcast. "By the end of the week, we could be looking at 400 orders." Airbus announced 122 orders, while Boeing announced 67.

Boeing
A Bombardier Inc. BD-700-1A10 Global Express M-JANP private jet flies past an Airbus SAS A380 airplane on the first day of the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, U.K., on Monday, July 19, 2010. The Farnborough International Airshow runs from July 19-25.

Most of the orders were from leasing companies. Air Lease Corporation, the new aircraft financing and leasing company created by Steven Udvar-Hazy, formerly CEO of International Lease Finance Corp., ordered 51 Airbus A320s and A321s. GE Capital Aviation Co. ordered 60 additional A320s and 40 Boeing 737s.

So far Bombardier, which is preparing to enter the narrow-body market, has not announced any orders for its planned C-Series planes. "The expectations were that Bombardier was going to announce a C Series order," Hamilton said. "They really needed to announce (something) to bring credibility back to the program."

U.S. airlines are not expected to participate in the buying. On its earnings conference call Monday, Delta (DAL - Get Report) said it will reduce its fleet by 91 aircraft in 2010 and by 20 more in 2011. CEO Richard Anderson made it clear the carrier has no immediate interest in new airplanes.

"We are continuing to purchased used MD90s because at today's prices they have a far better return than a 737-800 or an A320," he said. "We will continue to opportunistically look at the used aircraft market."

Asked whether Delta plans to ever take delivery of the 787s ordered by Northwest before it merged with Delta, Anderson responded: "We have no further updates on the 787."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, NC .

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