Qatar Airways in focus as Boeing, Airbus vie for orders

FARNBOROUGH England Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:49am EDT

1 of 2. Qatari men take pictures after the Airbus A320-200 aircraft chartered by Qatar Airways landed at Doha's new Hamad International Airport (HIA), April 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Fadi Al-Assaad

FARNBOROUGH England (Reuters) - Airbus (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N) were set to resume their multi-billion dollar battle over new plane orders on day three of the Farnborough Airshow, with hopes reviving that Qatar Airways would firm up a deal for 50 Boeing 777X planes.

While the Gulf airline has played down the prospect of finalizing the potential $18 billion deal this week, analysts say negotiations can move on quickly at the world's biggest aerospace industry gathering of the year.

GE (GE.N), which would provide engines for the planes, said on Tuesday it was confident that Qatar Airways' so-called "letter of intent" for the planes would turn into a firm order. Boeing declined to comment.

Airbus has so far racked up around $60 billion of orders and commitments at the July 14-20 air show in southern England, far outstripping Boeing, helped by the launch of a revamped, more fuel-efficient version of its twin-aisle A330 model.

However, Boeing began the show with a clear advantage over its European rival after gaining 703 gross orders up to July 8, or 649 after cancellations, against Airbus’s end-June total of 515 gross orders and 290 net.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Mark Potter)

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