Report: China Eastern to buy 20 Boeing 777s

Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

China Eastern Airlines is close to placing a $6 billion order for 20 Boeing Co. 777 jets, reports Reuters.

The carrier has stalled a deal with Airbus for A330s, unnamed sources told Reuters.

China Eastern had started the talks with Airbus after canceling an order for 787s from Boeing back in October. The airline said then it was canceling the order due to delivery delays on the Dreamliner, which was more than three years late. But China Eastern swapped those orders for Boeing 737s and planned to buy 15 A330s from Airbus.

The 777, which is assembled in Everett, has been a hot-selling jet for Boeing in recent years. Boeing logged 200 orders for the 777 last year – the most Boeing has received for the 777 since launching it in the 1990s. Boeing delivered the 1,000th 777 in March.

Boeing is considering options for upgrading the popular 777. The company likely will make a case for going ahead with the revamped jet, dubbed the 777X, by the end of 2012.

Both Emirates and British Airways are pushing Boeing to have the 777X available before the end of the decade, Bloomberg reported yesterday.