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Farnborough wrapup: Late-bloomer Boeing takes show with 427 aircraft sold; show totals 788 plane purchases

FARNBOROUGH, England, 12 July 2012. In what was turning out to be lackluster aircraft sales this week at the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, England, Boeing saved the best for last, announcing a 150-plane deal late Thursday to airline giant United Airlines.

The 150-aircraft sale to United, which consists of 100 next-generation 737 MAX 9 narrow-body aircraft as well as 737-900ER long-range narrow-bodies, brings Boeing's total Farnborough sales to 427, eclipsing archrival Airbus of Toulouse, France, which logged 123 aircraft sales at Farnborough.

The star of Farnborough 2012 was Boeing's next-generation fuel-efficient 737 MAX family of narrow-body aircraft, set to enter service in 2017, which Boeing introduced last summer as a direct competitor to the Airbus A320neo new-engine option narrow-body aircraft that make a huge impact at last year's Paris Air Show.

At Farnborough this year Boeing sold 367 737 MAX family of aircraft, compared with Airbus A320neo sales of 37 at Farnborough. It's fair to say that Boeing has matched -- and perhaps for the moment surpassed -- the market momentum that Airbus had built over the past year with A320neo.

Related stories

-- AgustaWestland takes orders for 70 light- and medium-lift helicopters at Farnborough for oil and gas, news, and police

-- Airbus wraps up Farnborough Thursday with 62 aircraft sales, bringing company's show total to 123

-- Mitsubishi Aircraft signs agreement to provide 100 Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) aircraft to SkyWest.

Both companies are fighting tooth-and-nail for the lucrative future market for single-aisle, medium range passenger jets that make the most of fuel efficiency, and reduce noise and emissions.

The twin-engine 737 MAX, a new-engine variant of the popular 737 narrow-body passenger jetliner uses the CFM International LEAP-1B engine. Airlines operating the 737 MAX will see a 13 percent fuel burn improvement over today's most fuel efficient single-aisle airplanes, Boeing officials say. The 737 MAX and A320neo take advantage of new engines and new aerodynamic features.

Still, it was not just the continuing Boeing-Airbus rivalry that created excitement at Farnborough this year. The show started out slowly with only 268 total sales recorded through the first of four business days at the show. Then things turned around quickly with today's Boeing blockbuster sale to United.

Worthy of mention were other aircraft manufacturers who made sales this week at Farnborough. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. in Tokyo sold 100 of the company's Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) to regional carrier SkyWest Airlines. AgustaWestland sold 70 of the company's light- and medium-lift helicopters to a variety of customers throughout the world.

Bombardier Aerospace in Montreal sold 41 of the company's CSeries regional jets, as well as the propeller-driven Q400 NextGen Airliners. Embraer of Brazil and ATR Aircraft in Blagnac, France, also sold 13 regional passenger aircraft apiece.

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