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Boeing Plane Orders Surge in February

Boeing won orders for 51 commercial jets in February, worth about $8 billion at list prices, doubling its tally from the same month last year and making up for a relatively small number in January.

Boeing, which won back the title of biggest-selling planemaker from Airbus last year, got a huge boost in the month from a large freighter order from United Parcel Service and more sales of its popular 787 Dreamliner.

The Chicago-based company continues to dominate the lucrative market for widebody aircraft, but is trailing its European rival in terms of overall orders so far this year.

Boeing has orders for 64 aircraft so far this year, according to its Web site, while Airbus -- owned by European aerospace company EADS -- took in orders for 90 planes in January alone. It has not reported figures for February.

Separately Friday, Airbus announced that UPS canceled the European aircraft maker's lone outstanding order for its A380 freighter.

Most of Boeing's 51 new orders in February were widebodies. It sold 33 of the 767 models, most of them freighters for UPS, which is still undecided about whether to go ahead with its
order for the freighter version of Airbus' A380 superjumbo.

Boeing also sold four 777 minijumbos and 12 of its 787s, the new carbon and titanium mid-sized jet scheduled to enter service next year. It sold only two 737s, the single-aisle workhorse of most domestic and regional airlines.

The value of its February orders was about $8 billion, up strongly from January's figure of about $2.2 billion.

In February last year, Boeing took orders for 25 planes, worth about $2 billion.

Boeing's order value for January was roughly the same as a year earlier, but it was dwarfed by orders in December, when the company sold $22 billion worth of commercial aircraft.

That drop from one month to the next contributed to a steep decline in orders for U.S. made durable goods for January, according to Commerce Department figures published on Tuesday.

After taking 13 orders in January, Boeing now has 64 plane orders so far this year, the same number it had at this time last year, which turned out to be Boeing's best ever, with net orders for 1,044 planes.

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