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Bloomberg: United Continental Close To Deal With Boeing To Buy 200 Planes

United Continental Holdings (UAUA,UAL: Quote) is in exclusive negotiations with Boeing Co. (BA: Quote) to buy around 200 narrow body jets, Bloomberg reported quoting two people familiar with the matter.

Discussions to purchase Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s and variants with new engines have been going on for at least six months.

The airline is now said to have dropped its discussions with Airbus SAS, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. or EADS NV (EADSY.PK,EADSF.PK).

If the deal materializes, it will be a major win for Boeing, which has been lagging behind Airbus in procuring orders from small carriers.

Two-thirds of the planes flown at United Continental, formed through the merger of UAL Corp. and Continental Airlines Inc. in 2010, are from Boeing. The 737 is the most widely flown plane in the world.

A factor that may work in favor of Boeing is that the current management of United Continental comes mostly from Continental, which only flew planes from Boeing.

UAL closed on Monday at $22.85, down $0.06 or 0.26 percent, on a volume of 4.41 million shares.

BA settled at $72.86, down $0.69, on 5.02 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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