June 17 (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co.’s aircraft leasing division agreed to buy 10 of the largest Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliners valued at about $2.9 billion, a boost for the planemaker’s decision to stretch the jet to add seats.
Deliveries would occur from 2019 to 2021, pending final approval at Boeing to offer the model, Chief Executive Officer Norm Liu of GE Capital Aviation Services said today at the Paris Air Show. Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE makes engines for the 787, the first jetliner built chiefly from composite plastic.
Support from lessors such as Gecas is important, because they place planes with more than one airline. Liu said carriers will use the wide-body 787-10X, as the biggest variant is known, as a replacement plane for Chicago-based Boeing’s 777-200ER and Airbus SAS’s A330s and A340s.
“There’s going to be leasing prospects for us with the operators of 787-8s and -9s,” he said. “The -10 is a natural fit for those people.”
Boeing has won orders for 890 Dreamliners. The program includes the 787-8, which seats as many as 250 and was first delivered in September 2011. The 787-9 will be able to carry about 40 more people, and the 787-10X would have room for an additional 43 people beyond that, or more than 330 passengers.
Boeing won a pledge last month from Singapore Airlines Ltd. for 30 787-10Xs as the company rebounds from a global grounding of the Dreamliner fleet this year to fix overheating batteries.
The 787-10X probably would enter service around 2018. While Boeing hasn’t published prices for the 787-10X on its website, Liu’s valuation of the Gecas purchase would mean a $290 million retail price. Airlines typically get discounts.
Boeing is developing the next Dreamliner variant to compete with the new Airbus A350-900, which performed its maiden flight on June 14. That aircraft’s first delivery, to Qatar Airways Ltd., is scheduled by the end of 2014.