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Have you no shame, AIG (NYSE: AIG ) ? For years, U.S. taxpayers have floated you a loan, saving you from bankruptcy. Now you're out to do a re-IPO, just days after sticking a knife in Uncle Sam's back.
I speak, of course, of the news last week that AIG is buying $9 billion worth of planes from Boeing (NYSE: BA ) rival Airbus. While usually known as an insurance company -- and lately, better known specifically as a really bad mortgage insurer -- AIG also operates a profitable airplane leasing business by the name of "International Lease Finance Corp." Last week, ILFC went out and bought itself 100 planes from Airbus.
In the process, it boosted Airbus past Boeing in the annual race to sell "the most planes," into a global market expected to be worth $4.7 trillion over the next 20 years. According to reports, high oil prices tipped the scales in Airbus' favor. While Boeing dithers over whether to revamp its uber-successful Boeing 737 design, Airbus has come out with a fuel-efficient "A320neo" featuring new engines offering improved fuel efficiency and cheaper maintenance cost.
It's not all bad news for America, though -- or even for Boeing. On the one hand, United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) was tapped to build engines for some of the new A320s. On the other, Boeing's still outselling Airbus by one measure. By the end of April, Airbus had inked deals to sell 169 planes "gross," or 12 more than Boeing. But after cancellations, Boeing's still ahead on net sales for the year: 106 to 90, and counting.