United Flies Right Past Boeing

Boeing suffered a major defeat on July 8 when its largest and most loyal customer, United Airlines, ordered 50 narrow-body A320s from Airbus Industrie and took options for an additional 50 aircraft. The deal is valued at roughly $3 billion. United is under pressure to cut capital commitments, and industry sources say Airbus gave it a sweet deal, allowing it to lease the aircraft instead of purchasing them outright. Boeing, which said it was "very disappointed," earlier this year annoyed United by refusing its request to defer deliveries of the new 777 jet.

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