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Boeing 787 Posts 2012 Order Loss After China Eastern Swaps

Boeing Co. posted a net order loss for the 787 Dreamliner this year after the Chinese government approved a carrier’s plan to scrap an order for 24 of the composite-plastic airliners in favor of 45 single-aisle 737s.

The move by China Eastern Airlines Corp. means Boeing has lost nine orders since the start of the year, according to a weekly update on its website. The airline, China’s second-largest, said in October it would switch to the smaller 737s because of delivery delays and slowing demand for long-haul international travel.

“This has been in the works for some time,” Doug Alder, a Boeing spokesman, said today in a telephone interview. “It was just waiting for Chinese government approval.”

Boeing’s Dreamliner was about three years behind schedule when it was delivered to its first customer in September, following struggles with new production techniques and materials. The Chicago-based planemaker delivered no 787s in February while performing inspections after finding a manufacturing error related to fuselage lamination.

Alder couldn’t immediately say how the decision by China Eastern will affect Boeing’s order backlog. Boeing had 868 Dreamliner orders outstanding at the end of February after delivering five of the planes.

The planemaker also reported two new Dreamliner orders today from Air New Zealand. The aircraft has an average list price of $210.7 million, though airlines typically negotiate discounts.

Boeing dropped 0.3 percent to $74.08 at the close in New York trading. The shares have gained about 1 percent this year.

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