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Boeing to Deliver Eight 747-8 VIPs in 2012 as Jet Enters Service

Boeing Co. expects to deliver eight 747-8 planes to VIP customers this year, as the newest version of its biggest plane enters service.

The tally includes one jumbo jet that was handed over last month, Steve Taylor, the president of its private-aircraft unit, told reporters today at the ABACE business-jet show in Shanghai. The planemaker will also deliver four Boeing Business Jets, he said.

Boeing, based in Chicago, has sold nine 747-8 VIPs, accounting for a quarter of orders for the $332.9 million passenger version of the aircraft. At least one sale came from China, Taylor said, as rising numbers of billionaires spur demand for luxury goods and private travel.

“China continues to have a lot of opportunities for growth,” he said. “There aren’t many planes in China right now.”

The planemaker expects to sell three to five private aircraft in China this year, Taylor said. Last year’s net orders totaled four, including the 747-8 and three Boeing Business Jets. The Boeing Business Jet is based on the 737, a single-aisle commercial plane.

Airbus SAS also expects to sell as many as five Corporate Jets a year in China for the next two or three years, Vice President Francois Chazelle said at a separate briefing today.

Boeing delivered the first passenger 747-8 to a VIP customer last month. The first delivery for airline use, to Deutsche Lufthansa AG, is due to take place this month, Jim Albaugh, Boeing’s commercial-aircraft chief, said in a March 7 interview.

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