July 16, 2014 / 8:50 AM / 4 years ago

Qatar Airways in focus as Boeing, Airbus vie for orders

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.

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. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

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.

Visitors talk next to a Boeing 777X aircraft model at the Singapore Airshow February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su

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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