Boeing Co has come under increasing pressure to clarify its plans for the future with respect to a medium-range aircraft as European rival Airbus stole a big lead with a $9 billion, 100-plane order from ILFC, the leasing arm of US insurance group AIG.
Even as Airbus bagged the huge order for the A320neo, a fuel-efficient A320 derivative, Boeing is still wondering if it should opt for a more fuel efficient B737NG or design a new, lighter, twin-aisle model altogether.
At stake is a $1.7 trillion market for 100- to 200-seat planes, such as the A320 or the B737, used on medium-length routes.
Airbus's April order book received a hefty boost with International Lease Finance Corp (ILFC) confirming a deal to buy the newest Airbus narrow-body planes. On the flip side Airbus lost out on an order for 10 A380 superjumbos from the same company.
The massive purchase order confirms that ILFC may be on the path to recovery after being hit by financial crisis and that it now has a positive outlook on the sector.
The order is also a huge vote of confidence for the A320neo.