UPDATE 1-Boeing nears deal to sell 30 jets to Monarch Air-sources

Tue Jul 1, 2014 12:02pm EDT

(Adds airline reaction, background)

LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) - Boeing Co is close to a roughly $3 billion deal to sell around 30 aircraft to Monarch Airlines, ousting the UK carrier's current supplier, Airbus , industry sources said.

A spokesman for Boeing UK declined to comment.

Monarch Airlines said a final decision had not been taken.

"Monarch Airlines is at an advanced stage in evaluating a range of options for re-equipping its fleet to enhance the economics of the airline and the standards of service it provides to its millions of customers," a spokesman said.

"A further announcement will be made in due course when this process is complete," he said in an email.

Industry sources said Boeing had pulled ahead of its European rival after a fierce price competition triggered by the airline's decision to seek bids for up to 60 current-generation and re-engined jets from the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families.

If confirmed, the loss of the Monarch Airlines order would be a setback to Airbus, which remains ahead on the latest generation of aircraft but faces a resurgence by its U.S. arch-rival.

Most industry sources had expected Airbus to win the contest, which had been widely watched as a gauge of competition between leading planemakers to sell medium-haul jets.

Decisions first by Airbus and then Boeing to upgrade their best-selling models with new engines have intensified a battle for market share between the two leading aircraft manufacturers.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Ray Conner has urged employees to fight for every sale and pay attention to winning back market share after a series of losses to Airbus. (Reporting by Tim Hepher and Sarah Young; Editing by James Regan)

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