Big finance waded into a rain-soaked Paris Airshow with more than $10 billion in orders for jumbo passenger jets as planemakers duelled over strategy for large aircraft on Monday.
The world's biggest aircraft lessor, a unit of General Electric, became the second buyer to endorse a larger version of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, weeks after the lightweight jet went back into service after a three-month grounding.
Confirming a Reuters report, the GECAS subsidiary said it would sign up for 10 of the stretched 787-10 passenger planes, joining a $30 billion order haul that industry sources say Boeing is assembling to formally launch the jet on Tuesday.
And an influential German leasing company, Doric Asset Finance, little known outside the specialist world of aviation financing, splashed out on 20 Airbus A380 superjumbos worth $8 billion at list prices to anticipate rising demand.
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Total orders on day one of the world's largest aerospace event swelled to more than $30 billion in three hours as heavy rain lashed the Le Bourget pavilions.
But, despite the early flurry, the number of orders this year was expected to be down on the last Paris show in 2011, GECAS chief executive Norman Liu told reporters.
"It is shifting to more of a wide-body story," he said, referring to long-haul jets seating anywhere from 200 people on small wide-bodies to 525 on the double-decker A380.
Doric, which is already involved in financing A380 jets for Emirates airline, the aircraft's largest operator, said its deal would be finalised in months, with deliveries to start in 2016.
"We see how airlines that do not yet have the A380 are interested in it and approach us and ask questions, which shows us that there is pent-up demand for this aircraft," Mark Lapidus, chief executive of Doric Lease Corp, said.
"If anything, we are perhaps under-ordering the A380."
It remained unclear whether Doric had already identified the eventual customers to whom it would rent out the planes.
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