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Airbus to win larger portion of American Airlines narrowbody order, sources say

American Airlines aircraft are parked at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, U.S., August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
American Airlines aircraft are parked at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, U.S., August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

American Airlines (AAL.O) is nearing a deal for about 100 narrowbody jets split between Airbus SE (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N), with the European planemaker likely to win a slightly higher number of orders, two people familiar with the talks told Reuters on Tuesday.

A deal for Airbus A321 and Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets could be announced as early as next week in conjunction with a March 4 investor meeting, the sources said. The final mix of aircraft is still in flux, with the US carrier also considering whether to include Boeing’s forthcoming 737 MAX 10 as part of the deal following certification delays.

The move comes amid a scramble for scarce Airbus production slots, with rival United Airlines (UAL.O) already in talks with Airbus for a potential mega-order to replace hundreds of MAX 10s on order from Boeing, Reuters reported last month.

Bloomberg was first to report that Airbus’ share of the deal is set to win a larger portion of the order.

The airline industry’s 2024 plans were upended after Boeing was thrust into a new crisis after a January accident when a cabin panel tore off of an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX jet mid-flight.

American had sought to place a new order for planes for deliveries in 2027 and beyond. Chief Financial Officer Devon May told Reuters last month the carrier was talking to Boeing, Airbus and Embraer (EMBR3.SA) for the new order, but was mindful of Boeing’s ongoing issues.

“We absolutely take current events into consideration as we’re going through our analysis of this order,” May said in the interview last month.

American declined to provide specifics on the deal, referring to May’s previous comments on the negotiations.

Airbus declined to comment. Boeing deferred comment to American Airlines.

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