Press: Lufthansa buys 20 Boeing 747s

Deutsche Lufthansa AG could announce as soon as today that it will order the passenger version of Boeing’s updated 747 jumbo jet, at the expense of European rival Airbus, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation. Lufthansa has agreed to place firm orders for 20 planes, as well as taking options for 20 more, the Journal said, adding the firm orders are valued at more than 5 bln usd at list prices, although launch customers typically win steep discounts.

Lufthansa’s board is scheduled to meet today to give it final approval, the sources said.

Executives at the German carrier and Boeing reached a handshake agreement late last week, the people said.

The newspaper said the move is an especially harsh blow to Airbus because Lufthansa was among the first customers for the A380 superjumbo jet, which Airbus has marketed as a replacement for old 747s.

A Lufthansa spokeswoman declined to comment on any pending deals with Boeing, but she said the carrier is “definitely” keeping its orders for the A380. “We see the A380 as our flagship. With 550 seats, it’s just a different category of aircraft.”