Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways is negotiating a multibillion-dollar order for dozens of Boeing jets including at least 25 of the U.S. planemaker's revamped 777 mini-jumbo, two people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The fast-expanding Gulf airline, which competes with other regional giants Emirates and Qatar Airways, is looking to buy between 25 and 30 of the revamped 777X, they said.
In a vote of confidence for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, which has suffered a number of high-profile technical problems, Etihad may also increase its order for the lightweight passenger jet by as many as 30 aircraft, one of the sources said.
Etihad, which has 41 Dreamliners on order, declined comment.
Boeing said interest was "high" for the revamped 406-seat 777X but declined comment on individual negotiations.
Etihad is among several airlines in negotiation with Boeing and Airbus for large twin-engined jets, industry sources have said. The two planemakers compete aggressively for new orders and such negotiations are subject to last-minute swings.
The provisional Etihad order, which can only be completed when Boeing formally decides to build the proposed 777X family of two models, could be worth $18 billion at list prices.
An announcement could be timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the airline's first flight on November 12, pre-empting the Dubai Airshow, the region's largest aviation event.
Dubai's home carrier, Emirates EMIRA.UL, has said it is considering what many in the industry expect to be a blockbuster order for Boeing 777X jets at the November 17-21 gathering.
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