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Contracts Flow in for Boeing

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The Boeing Company (BA - Free Report) has clinched a deal with Qatar Airways for nine Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes. The deal has a total value of $2.8 billion at list prices and includes a firm order for two 777-300ERs and options for seven more. The planes are scheduled to be delivered to the Doha-based carrier from early next year.

With this contract, Qatar Airways will have 51 Boeing 777s in its fleet including those on order. Presently, the airline operates 35 Boeing passenger and cargo 777s of various types, comprising 22 777-300ERs, 9 777-200LR or Longer Range airplanes and 4 777 Freighters. The two firm airplane order from Qatar Airways will bring the backlog to 9 Boeing 777s. With the seven more becoming firm, the backlog will rise to 16.

Again, Boeing has won a significant contract for the upgrade of four French E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System (“AWACS”) aircraft. The contract is valued at $354 million.

The transformation involves electrical, mechanical and structural systems of the aircraft and aircraft mission hardware and marks the biggest ever for the French AWACS. Boeing is responsible for on-site engineering, quality assurance support, software and hardware. The work will be performed by a subcontractor, Air France Industries. It has already started working on the first aircraft with completion likely by next year. However, work on the other planes is slated for completion by 2016.

The company highlighted that this work will be primarily based on the U.S. AWACS Block 40/45 system and will considerably boost the reliability and effectiveness of the aircraft while reducing life-cycle costs.

Meanwhile, the commercial aircraft manufacturer received a commitment from the aircraft leasing unit of General Electric Company (GE - Free Report) − GE Capital Aviation Services/GECAS − for 10 787-10X Dreamliners. The order is subject to the launch of the extended variant of the aircraft and GECAS intends to take the aircraft between 2019 and 2021 with GEnx engines. This 787-10 version of the Dreamliner is designed to compete against the Airbus A350 which made its maiden flight recently.

The GEnx-1B engine is considered to be the best-selling engine on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The engine has already run more than 60,000 flight hours and more than 14,000 cycles since its launch in 2012.

Headquartered in Chicago, Boeing is a premier jet aircraft manufacturer and one of the largest defense contractors in the U.S. Its revenue exposure is spread across more than 90 countries around the globe.

With the gradual recovery in the global economy, we believe freight and passenger traffic will improve going forward. Also, the U.S. defense budget is skewed towards a number of prominent Boeing programs.

However, in the defense business, the adverse effects of sequestration cannot be ignored. In fact, in April, the budget cuts from sequestration have reduced the number of contracts awarded by the Department of Defense to major defense contractors. Defense contractors, including Boeing, have not been spared from the negative impacts of sequestration.

Boeing presently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other companies in the industry which are worth considering are Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) Erickson Air-Crane Inc. and Zacks Ranked #2 (Buy) Wesco Aircraft Holdings, Inc. (WAIR - Free Report) .

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