Boeing said that Hong Kong Airlines, which currently has just 18 aircraft servicing routes to Asia and to Russia, had placed a preliminary order for 38 planes worth up to $8.5 billion at list prices.
Air China, the state-owned flag carrier, said it had agreed to buy five of Boeing’s new 747-8 Intercontinental jets, becoming the third airline to order the stretched passenger jumbo after Lufthansa and Korean Air.
“We time it pretty much in line with the natural replacement cycle for the 747-400,” Marlin Dailey, Boeing’s executive vice president for sales and marketing of commercial airplanes, said at a signing ceremony with Air China at the Asian Aerospace 2011 trade show in Hong Kong.
Both the 747-8 and the long-haul 787 Dreamliner are powered by the same energy-efficient General Electric engine, and Boeing is banking on plenty of orders from airlines keen to lower their sky-high fuel bills as it does battle with Airbus’s giant A380.
See also a report from Business Week.