Airbus lands Fed Ex, Kuwaiti orders

June 18, 1991|By Steven Greenhouse | Steven Greenhouse,New York Times News Service

PARIS -- Airbus Industrie plans to announce this week that Federal Express Corp., the express airfreight carrier, will order up to 75 new cargo planes from Airbus in a $6 billion deal, officials from the European aircraft consortium said.

The deal, which is set to be announced at the Paris Air Show, will be one of Airbus' biggest successes in the American market, which has long been dominated by Boeing Co. and McDonnell Douglas Corp. The order also will be the consortium's largest ever for cargo aircraft.

Meanwhile, Kuwait's national airline announced yesterday that it had decided to rebuild its fleet by awarding orders to Airbus for 15 aircraft and by taking options on nine more Airbus planes, a deal valued at about $2 billion.

In winning the Federal Express order, Airbus has prevailed over an offer from McDonnell Douglas, which, along with Boeing, has complained that Airbus receives government subsidies that give an unfair competitive advantage.

According to Airbus officials, Federal Express is placing firm orders for 25 A-300 wide-body twin-engine aircraft and is taking out options on 50 other A-300s.

The planes, which are scheduled to be delivered over 15 years beginning in 1993, will replace most of Federal Express' Boeing 727s and McDonnell Douglas DC-10s.

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