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Azerbaijan Deal Boosts Boeing 747 Order Book

In a boost to Boeing's flagging jumbo jet program, Azerbaijan-based Silk Way West finalized an order for three 747-8 freighters, lifting the backlog to 37.

Boeing has booked a new firm order for its largest jet, the 747-8, boosting the flagging jumbo jet program.

Azerbaijan-based Silk Way West finalized an order for three 747-8 freighters Tuesday. Last year Boeing booked zero net orders for the jet.

The order, first announced in January, is valued at $1.1 billion at current list prices. Assuming standard market discounts as estimated by aircraft valuation firm Avitas, the actual purchase price is about $589 million.

Since Airbus has no equally freighter aircraft, the 747-8 freighter faces no direct competition. Nevertheless, with the cargo market depressed for years, the Boeing jet has sold very slowly.

The new order boosts the 747-8 backlog to 37 jets: 15 freighters and 22 passenger models.

In addition, the Pentagon has picked the 747-8 as the replacement for the current Air Force One jets. Boeing will deliver two airplanes customized for the president starting in 2018.

Without a substantial uptick in demand before then, the Air Force One deliveries could finally mark the end of the line for Boeing's venerable Queen of the Skies.

Boeing is currently building the 747-8 at a rate of 18 jets per year, but will slow production in the fall to 16 jets per year.

Source: Seattle Times

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