United Airlines to ask Embraer to bid on planes

BRUSSELS Wed Dec 9, 2009 12:40pm EST

BRUSSELS Dec 9 (Reuters) - Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer (EMBR3.SA)(ERJ.N) will be invited to join a tender to supply narrow-bodied planes to United Airlines, the head of United's parent company UAL Corp UAUA.O said on Wednesday.

"We are going to go into the narrow-bodied (plane) market next year. We are going to invite Embraer into that competition," UAL Chief Executive Glenn Tilton said in an interview.

Tilton also said he was seeing a gradual, steady improvement in the corporate and international travel market and that media estimates of the size of discounts that UAL won on plane orders it placed this week were "on the low side".

Taking advantage of reduced market prices, United Airlines said on Tuesday it had placed a $10 billion-plus order for 50 wide-bodied jetliners divided between Airbus EAD.PA and Boeing Co (BA.N).

United has letters of intent to order 25 of Boeing's 787 Dreamliners and the same number of A350 planes from its European rival Airbus, part of EADS, following a six-month contest. The carrier also has future purchase rights for 50 of each aircraft. (Reporting by Pete Harrison, editing by Dale Hudson)

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