PARIS, June 18 Air France looks poised
to sign a long-awaited $7 billion deal to buy 25 Airbus
A350 jets after talks narrowly avoided collapse, industry
sources said on Tuesday.
Air France has been at loggerheads with its suppliers over
issues mainly including maintenance of the plane's Rolls-Royce
engines ever since the deal was first mooted in 2011.
Further disagreements delayed prospects of the high-profile
deal being announced at the Paris Airshow, which has been
dominated so far by wide-body announcements from Boeing,
but it could now take shape as early as Wednesday.
Airbus and Air France, the French network of Franco-Dutch
airline group Air France-KLM, both declined any comment.
Air France and Rolls-Royce have clashed over conflicting
ideas for engine supply deals. Engine makers rely increasingly
on hourly service deals including maintenance to secure margins
while Air France wants to keep doing maintenance in-house.
Air France traditionally orders engines from Rolls' U.S.
rival General Electric, but the A350 is powered
exclusively by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Rolls-Royce has
consistently declined to comment on the dispute.