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Friday, November 6, 2009

Boeing May Lose Oman Air Order to Airbus If 787 Delayed

By Steve Rothwell

Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co. risks losing a $1 billion order for its 787 Dreamliner aircraft to a rival model from Airbus SAS if the U.S. plane’s production schedule slips any further, Gulf carrier Oman Air said today.

Oman, which has ordered six Dreamliners for delivery starting in the first half of 2014, may turn to Airbus’s A330 widebody if a two-year delay to the 787 is extended, Chief Executive Officer Peter Hill said in an interview.

“I really hope they get their act together,” Hill said. “Further delays might mean that we’d have to look elsewhere.”

Boeing says the Dreamliner will fly this year and that the aircraft will be delivered to the first customers at the end of 2010. The plane’s production schedule has slipped more than two years since the first of five delays emerged in October 2007.

Muscat-based Oman Air already has seven A330s from Airbus on order, with the first four scheduled for handover this year. Buying the Toulouse, France-based planemaker’s newer A350 model is not an option as the carrier would be too far down the delivery list, said Hill, who spoke in London.

The CEO said he’s not yet actively looking at alternatives to Chicago-based Boeing’s Dreamliner, which has a list price that averages about $178 million for the various versions.

Oman Air has no plans to defer any planes as a response to the recession and needs the delivery positions to take advantage of any rebound in demand for air travel, Hill said.

“We don’t have a view that we should defer, we want to develop routes, we want to expand,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Steve Rothwell in London at

Last Updated: November 5, 2009 11:22 EST
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