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Airbus finalizing first ever deal with Arkia Airlines


Airbus is finalizing deals that could double its number of airplane orders this year when they are disclosed at the Farnborough International Air Show this week, according to sources privy to the negotiations.

According to a press release on the NASDAQ website, among contracts that the unit of European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co. hopes to unveil in coming days is its first from an Israeli carrier. Arkia Israel Airlines is in final talks for Airbus A320-family single-aisle airliners.

A deal with Arkia would break a longstanding lock that Boeing Co. of the US has had on the Israeli passenger- jet market. Israel's national airline El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. several years ago ordered Airbus planes, but the contract was later annulled by the government. Arkia officials could not be reached for comment.

An Airbus spokesman declined to comment about possible orders. Airbus through June had firm orders for 230 planes this year, after cancellations. It last year posted a record 1419 net orders and company officials have said they expect many fewer this year.

Airbus may also disclose at the air show its first order from UTAir Group of Russia, for A320-family planes. The Siberian carrier has been a Boeing customer and last year ordered 40 Boeing 737s, which rival the Airbus A320. UTair Aviation officials were not available for comment.

Other orders that Airbus hopes to disclose this week are one from Philippine Airlines, to increase its fleet of Airbus A330 long-range planes. Philippine Airlines did not respond to a request for comment.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. looks set to increase its order for Airbus's planned A350 model with an order for the large A350-1000 model. An A350 order from the Hong Kong carrier could put Airbus in the black for the year on the model, after airlines through June had cancelled seven more orders for the plane than they had placed.

Cathay already has 36 of the smaller A350-900 model on order.
  
One source noted that the number of possible orders to be announced during the air show, which begins on Monday near London remained unclear.

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