June 4, 2009 / 5:15 AM / in 9 years

UPDATE 1-United asks Boeing, Airbus to bid for 150 planes- WSJ

* Order for 150 new planes

* Could be worth more than $10 bln (Adds details of United’s request)

June 4 (Reuters) - UAL Corp’s UAUA.O United Airlines has asked Boeing Co (BA.N) and Airbus EAD.PA to propose competing bids for up to 150 new airliners, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website.

The deal could be worth more than $10 billion for the two aircraft makers, the paper said.

United sent a formal request to Boeing and Airbus on Tuesday, the paper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The request focuses on replacing many of United’s 111-airplane wide-body fleet, as well as some of its 97 aging Boeing 757 narrow-body planes, those people told the paper.

By asking for competing bids, UAL Corp is hoping to obtain better terms than might otherwise be available, the paper said, citing people familiar with the situation.

United could sign a major order as early as the fall if Boeing or Airbus agree to certain conditions, the paper said citing people familiar with the matter.

    However, the financing arranged by the manufacturer that doesn’t eat into United’s cash would be the most crucial, these people told the paper.

    United hired aviation consulting firm Seabury Group LLC to help it negotiate with the plane makers, the paper said.

    Airbus, declined to confirm or deny United’s request to the Journal, while a Boeing spokesman declined to comment to it.

    Reuters could not immediately reach United, Airbus or Boeing for comments outside regular hours. (Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran and Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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