US plane maker Boeing has beaten its European rival Airbus to win a big order from Australia’s Qantas.
The initial contract is to supply 65 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
However Boeing said it considers only 40 of the Qantas orders firm, with 20 options and 50 additional purchase rights.
The 787 is still being developed and the first deliveries to Qantas are due in 2008.
Qantas evaluated and rejected the 787’s rival, the Airbus A350, which is also still under development.
This means Boeing will have won more orders for planes than Airbus for the first time in five years.
Since January, the US company will have racked up 921, including those from Australia.
Airbus has 837, including a recently won order to sell 150 of its smaller A320 airliners to China.
A co-operation agreement was also signed which could see Airbus assembling some planes in China.
An Airbus spokesman expressed disappointment at the Qantas decision, but said the flagship of the Australian airline’s fleet would be the A380 superjumbo.
Qantas is buying 12 of the double deckers, with delivery due to start in early 2007.