Vote of Confidence for Boeing

The plane maker sells $6 billion worth of jets to Air Canada.
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Shares of

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

caught a tailwind after the airplane maker announced a huge order from

Air Canada

.

Chicago-based Boeing said Monday that Air Canada would upgrade its wide-body fleet with an agreement to acquire as many as 36 Boeing 777s and up to 60 next-generation 787 Dreamliners. The agreement includes firm orders for 18 777s and 14 Dreamliners. List prices for the firm orders total $6 billion.

In reaction, Boeing shares gained $1.67, or 2.9%, to $59.55.

Boeing is hoping the 787 will help it wrest back leadership in the commercial jet market from rival

Airbus

. The plane uses light, composite materials, which Boeing says will help it consume 20% less fuel than comparably-sized jets. That makes it attractive to airlines, which are struggling with near-record fuel costs. Targeted at the middle of the commercial jet market, the 787 will seat between 200 and 300 passengers and make medium- to long-range flights.

Airbus shareholders gave the go-ahead for a direct competitor to the 787 late last year, although the company has yet to officially announce development of the plane, which is named the A350 and based on the existing A330 model.