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Originally published Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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China Southern Airlines finalizes deal to buy 787s

China Southern Airlines has finalized a deal to buy 10 Boeing 787 aircraft for about $1.2 billion, a U.S. spokesman for the carrier confirmed...

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

China Southern Airlines has finalized a deal to buy 10 Boeing 787 aircraft for about $1.2 billion, a U.S. spokesman for the carrier confirmed yesterday.

Boeing acknowledged that the deal had been signed yesterday in China, but said it would leave any additional comments to its customer.

The transaction is part of a 60-plane deal for 787s that Boeing and the Chinese government announced in January. At that time the two sides had a preliminary agreement. China had said the planes would be distributed among six airlines, but the exact allocation was not known.

China Southern was notably absent earlier this month when four other carriers — China Eastern, Air China, Shanghai Airlines and Xiamen Airlines — inked contracts for 42 twin-aisle 787s.

Based in Guangzhou, China Southern is the country's largest carrier by fleet size.

That leaves Hainan Airlines as the lone carrier out of the original six that has yet to come to terms with Boeing. Hainan would need to order eight 787s for Boeing to meet the 60-plane deal first discussed in January.

The deal with China Southern comes one week before Chinese President Hu Jintao is due to visit Boeing's Everett plant, where 787s will be assembled alongside 747s, 767s and 777s.

David Bowermaster: 206-464-2724 or dbowermaster@seattletimes.com

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