April 08 - European air-giant Airbus is reportedly close to securing a deal from British Airways for its A350 jets worth $7 billion adding pressure on Boeing one of BA's most loyal customers. Hayley Platt reports.
$7 billion dollars is today's daily digit - the value for a potential order from British Airways for Airbus A350s. Newspaper reports suggest IAG - which owns BA and Spain's Iberia - is close to ordering around 20 of the $332m jets. The deal - if confirmed - will be another blow to Boeing. BA is one of its most loyal customers when it comes to wide-body jets. And the U.S. planemaker is still recovering from a 3-month crisis over the grounding of its 787 Dreamliner over safety fears. If the Airbus order goes ahead, Boeing may be forced to revamp its 777 mini-jumbo to compete in the wide-body market and defend its profits. The commercial jet industry is worth $100 billion dollars a year. And the world's biggest planemakers are looking at thousands of orders for large twin-engined jets as older models approach retirement. Airbus is developing a lightweight carbon-composite A350 in three sizes at an estimated cost of $15 billion. In a further challenge to Boeing, it's just started building a $600 million assembly plant in the US. The factory in Mobile Alabama will build shorthaul A320 jets.