Boeing Co is the front-runner as Singapore Airlines Ltd closes in on an order for at least 35 wide-body aircraft, people familiar with the matter said.

Southeast Asia’s biggest long-distance carrier is considering buying 20 of Boeing’s long-range 777-9 jets, which are set to debut at decade’s end, after studying a rival bid for Airbus Group SE’s A350 aircraft, one of the people said.

The carrier is also poised to take at least 19 of the Boeing 787-10, the longest Dreamliner model, the person said.

Those aircraft would be valued at $13.8 billion based on list prices, before the discounts that are customary in the industry. The order could be unveiled this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Singapore Airlines, under pressure to cut costs after two consecutive quarters of declining profit, has been seeking more fuel-efficient aircraft as crude oil prices show signs of a rebound.

Representatives of Singapore Airlines and Boeing declined to comment.

“The global trend is to replace inefficient planes with efficient ones,” said K. Ajith, an analyst at UOB Kay Hian Pte in Singapore. “This move is to bring down their cost.”

Singapore Airlines also has ordered 67 of Airbus’s A350-900 jets, including an ultra-long range version, as it courts business travelers with non-stop services to markets such as New York and Los Angeles.

The new deal would provide a critical boost to two high-profile Boeing products amid a tough market for twin-aisle jets.

The Chicago-based company has been working hard to land sales of its upgraded 777X family, after twice announcing it would cut output of current models.

China Daily


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