Boeing appears to be ahead by a nose in the intense battle for a $15 billion, 100-plus-aircraft order from Qantas pitting its 787 and 777 against Airbus's A350 and A340. The Qantas board will make a selection at its Wednesday meeting, with an announcement expected before the Australian Stock Exchange opens the following day. Boeing's pitch has been helped by Cathay Pacific's order for the 777-300ER (ATWOnline, Dec. 2) and the recently announced 1.4% improvement in that aircraft's fuel burn. ...

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