Boeings biggest jetliner, the newest version of the 747 jumbo jet, won a total of five orders Monday from two airlines.
The orders are a significant boost for the big plane, which has seen few orders in recent years.
Boeing announced that Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways ordered three 747-8 Freighters. Those planes are valued at about $1 billion at list prices. Airlines normally pay much less than those prices, however. Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8 FreighterCathay Pacific Boeing 747-8 Freighter
The Cathay order includes options for five additional smaller 777 Freighters. The new order will bring Cathays 747-8 Freighter roster to 13 aircraft when all are delivered.
The company also revealed that Air China has ordered two 747-8 passenger aircraft. The Chinese carrier also announced orders for a single 777-300ER and 20 737-800 single-aisle planes. An affiliated company announced orders for eight 777 Freighters.
All of those Air China orders are subject to confirmation by the Chinese government.
The 747-8 has sold slowly in the last five years in part because of a slow worldwide economy and competition from the even-larger Airbus A-380 super jumbo.
Last year, Boeing recorded only a single net order for the 747-8. In 2011 and 2010, the companys order books show net losses of a single 747 order each year. In 2009, net 747-8 orders were just two and in 2008, Boeing shows only three orders for the four-engine, long-range plane.
The 747-8 order backlog counting Mondays orders is 72. Analysts had been raising warnings that Boeing might be forced to drop its production rate for the 747-8 unless new orders emerged.
The 747-8 is the latest version of the pioneering jumbo jet, which first emerged in the late 60s. The 747-8 is larger, has new engines and wings and an upgraded interior compared with its predecessor, the 747-400.