SEATTLE — State-owned British Airways has ordered 16 advanced-model Boeing 747 airliners, with options for 12 more of the jumbo jets--the largest order ever received by the Boeing Co., a spokesman said today.
The deal, worth $4.1 billion if options are included, involves the long-range 747-400 model, outfitted with British-made Rolls-Royce engines, said Jim Boynton of Boeing Commercial Airplane Co.
Delivery of the airplanes will be made in 1989 and 1990, with options delivered in 1991 through 1994.
Boynton said the order probably will not require Boeing to hire additional workers.
"It simply extends present employment into the 1990s, gives it stability. . . . This will keep people working through the 1990s," he said.
Range of 8,000 Miles
The 747-400 model, with a range of 8,000 miles, unmatched by any other commercial airliner, has proved popular, with 58 firm orders since the first were sold last November, Boynton said. Option orders total 34 airplanes.
"It seems to be exceeding expectations. It's going very well," he said, adding that other airlines with long routes are also expected to become buyers.
The largest previous order for Boeing airplanes was made March 27 by Singapore Airlines, totaling $3.3 billion for 14 747-400s and six options.
Each of the jumbo jets, capable of carrying 412 passengers in three classes, has a base price of $125 million, Boynton said. He said orders typically include spare parts and training.
Why Rolls Engines?
British Air said the airliners will replace 16 first-generation 747-100s.
The airline, one of the world's largest, said it chose the Rolls engines over competing offers from U.S. builders Pratt & Whitney and General Electric Co., in part because of its previous experience with Rolls-Royce engines.
The 747s are built at Boeing's Everett plant, north of Seattle.
The 747 carries four engines, two on each wing. It has a two-crew flight deck and is designed with advanced aluminum alloys for lighter weight and improved fuel performance, Boynton said.
Northwest Ordered 10
He said Northwest Airlines kicked off sales for the 400 model last November with an order for 10. That was the last order from an American airline, however.
Other buyers include KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, six aircraft; Lufthansa, six; Cathay Pacific, two, and UTA of France, two.
Boynton said Boeing has sold 277 aircraft this year, including 62 747s. Of those 747s, 46 were the 400 model, which is the most expensive commercial aircraft Boeing makes.