Hard blow for Boeing: Qantas chooses Airbus to renew its narrow-body fleet.

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Australia’s Qantas Airways said on Thursday it has chosen Airbus as the preferred supplier to replace its domestic fleet, switching away from Boeing in a major win for the European planemaker.

The airline said it had committed to buying 20 Airbus A321XLR planes and 20 A220-300 jets and had taken purchase options on another 94 aircraft, subject to board approval expected by June 2022.

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Deliveries would start in mid-2023 and continue over the next 10 years to replace an ageing fleet of 75 Boeing 737s and 20 717s.

“This is a clear sign of our confidence in the future and we’ve locked in pricing ahead of what is likely to be a big uptick in demand for next-generation narrow-body aircraft,” Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said in a statement.

This caps a successful week for Airbus, after Singapore Airlines signed a deal for seven A350 freighters and the aircraft manufacturer looked set to take an order for narrow-body aircraft from KLM as early as Thursday, in what would be a second coup for Boeing, Reuters reported.

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The loss of the contract, first reported by Bloomberg News, is a blow to Boeing’s 737 MAX, interrupting a strong run of sales since the jet was cleared for flight late last year following a safety ban.

Qantas has operated Boeing jets since 1959 and was once the world’s only airline with an all 747 fleet. After the Airbus narrow-body win, the U.S. planemaker will now supply only its long-haul 787 Dreamliners.

“Although we are disappointed, we respect Qantas’ decision and look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership,” Boeing said in a statement.

The airline’s low-cost arm Jetstar already has an order for more than 100 Airbus A320neo family planes that will be combined with the new deal to give Qantas more flexibility and the need for fewer firm commitments.

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