Philippines grants $7 bln worth orders to Airbus

Philippines grants $7 bln worth orders to Airbus

Philippines grants $7 bln worth orders to Airbus

Airbus has won a $7 billion order from Philippine Airlines beating rival Boeing. The flag carrier plans to buy up to 100 new jets in total within five to seven years. EPA photo

Airbus won a $7 billion order to help more than triple Philippine Airlines Inc’s fleet, beating Boeing to a deal despite U.S. support for Manila in a diplomatic dispute with China.

The flag carrier, which plans to buy up to 100 new jets in total within the next five to seven years as it fights to regain dominance of the local market, said it was still in talks with both Airbus and Boeing for its next tranche of planes.

 For this stage of fleet expansion, the airline has ordered 10 long-haul A330-300s and 44 jets from the A321 family, with delivery starting in 2013, Asia’s oldest airline said in a statement. The carrier is ready to issue more shares to fund its jet purchases, it said.

“The good Boeing planes we are looking at are the 777-300 ER and the upcoming 777-X. We’re also interested in the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner,” President Ramon Ang told reporters on the sidelines of the deal signing event in Manila on Tuesday.

“We have the option on whichever type of aircraft to go,” he said.

Boeing and Airbus are already locked in a global contest for market share, in some cases more than halving prices to bolster orders of the newly revamped models of best-selling narrowbody jets, industry sources and analysts say.

A territorial spat in the South China Sea appears to have added a diplomatic dimension to the talks as Washington seeks to cement a growing alignment with Manila on the issue. One person familiar with the matter said there had been significant “commercial and political pressure” on the airline to secure a deal with Boeing.

Boeing declined to comment on the negotiations.

In Washington, the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.