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Boeing to sell dream jets to Gulf

Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, and Boeing Co have signed a $6 billion agreement for the delivery of 24 Dreamliner aircraft to begin in 2016.

The Dreamliner is Boeing's most successful new airplane program in terms of sales, with more than 800 orders valued at more than 120 billion dollars. According to Bloomberg News, it ranked second in commercial orders last year behind the 737 narrow-body model.

Gulf Air currently has 30 planes to service 26 destinations. The company had been in talks with Boeing, the world's second-largest commercial-plane manufacturer, and Airbus SAS, chairman Mahmood al Kooheji said at the Dubai Air Show in November. Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx declined to discuss the status of the talks with Gulf Air. “Boeing does not comment on order negotiations with customers until the order is complete,” he said. “Until the order is booked, we can't talk about it.” The agreement was signed on the eve of a visit by US President George W. Bush to the Persian Gulf island, home of the US Navy's 5th Fleet.

Boeing set a third straight annual record with 1,413 commercial jet orders in 2006, driven by demand from Asian and Middle Eastern airlines. The 737 narrow-body model had 846 orders followed by the 787 Dreamliner with 369 orders, according to the Chicago-based company's Website.

The Dreamliner will use 20% less fuel for comparable missions than today's similar mid-sized airplanes, Boeing said on its Website. It also will travel at speeds equal to the fastest wide-body aircraft and provide airlines with more cargo- revenue capacity. (Shanghai Daily)