Boeing's newest paper airplanes, the 787-10 and the 777-9X, this week won a total of $23.3 billion in new orders from two leasing companies and Germany's largest airline.
Both of those planes now exist only as bits in design computers at Boeing. Boeing earlier this year announced it was moving forward to produce the 787-10, the largest plane in the 787 Dreamliner family, and the company is expected to make a similar move for the 777-9X and its related aircraft this fall.
The 777-9X is an evolution of Boeing's popular and successful 777 both larger and more fuel-stingy than the existing 777 aircraft now being produced. The 777-9X will feature new, longer wings, new engines and other improvements to enhance the 777's competitiveness against Airbus' new A350 series of planes.
In the largest wide-body order of the week, Germany's Lufthansa in fact split its order for new twin-aisle planes between the 777-9X and the A350. The A350 is an all-new composite-bodied plane somewhat smaller than the stretched 777-9X. The 777-9X retains the aluminum body and other features from the existing 777, but grows to a capacity of more than 400 passengers.
Lufthansa is ordering 34 777-9X aircraft and 25 Airbus A350-900 planes.
Those planes will replace the German airline's A340 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft in its fleet.
The A350 is expected to enter service in about two or three years while the 777-9X may not be flying commercially until the next decade.
Lufthansa wasn't the only customer ordering Boeing planes this week.
Air Lease Corporation entered formal orders for 30 787-10 aircraft and for three of the smaller 787-9 jets. At list prices, those planes are worth about $9.4 billion. Discounts are common, however, for good customers.
The first 787-9 flew for the first time this week. The plane could enter service in 2015. The 787-10 is the largest of the Dreamliner family with a capacity for about 330 passengers.
GE Capital Aviation Services, another aircraft leasing company, also disclosed orders for 10 787-10s. That makes official an order first disclosed early this summer.
General Electric's aircraft engine division will make the jet engines for the leasing company's planes.
Both the 787 and 777 have enjoyed fairly robust sales this year in spite of ongoing battery and reliability issues with the first batch of Dreamliners to enter service. All Dreamliners were grounded for nearly four months earlier this year after fires broke out in the battery compartments of two jets. No one was injured in those fires, one of which was on the ground in Boston and the other in the air over Japan.