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Norwegian Air Shuttle will soon double its fleet of Boeing 787s -- and it's not the only new buyer. Image source: Boeing.

It's been a long time coming, but Boeing (NYSE:BA) finally has its sales engine revving once more.

About one week ago, we regaled you with news of two big orders that Boeing had bagged: a 20-plane order from Gulf carrier Oman Air for new 737s, valued at perhaps $2.2 billion, and a separate order from Norwegian Air Shuttle for 19 of Boeing's widebody 787-9 Dreamliners -- worth $5 billion at list prices.

That Norwegian order arrived too late to make it into Boeing's regularly scheduled Thursday "order book" update two Thursdays back. But fast-forward seven days, and it did show up in this past Thursday's update. And in conjunction with five new 787 orders placed by Qantas, and an order for one single 737 from "business jet/VIP customer(s)," it added up to 25 new plane orders booked by Boeing through the end of October -- without a single new cancellation.

The update
As of mid-October, Boeing has now taken in gross orders for the following new plane deliveries:

  • 379 single-aisle 737s
  • 76 Dreamliner 787s
  • 54 widebody 777s
  • 48 Boeing 767s
  • Four 747s

That's 561 gross plane orders for Boeing. Subtract 75 cancellations reported so far, and Boeing's net order tally for the year is now 486 planes. But don't get too comfortable with that number, folks, because Boeing's order book is getting ready to grow again.

Once more, with feeling
On Thursday last week, just before releasing its latest order update, Boeing announced yet another big plane sale. This time, it was El Al Israel Airlines stepping up to help Boeing hit its sales goals for the year.

According to Boeing's press release, El Al will buy "up to" nine Dreamliners in a deal worth "more than $2.2 billion at current list prices." Boeing didn't specify which size of Dreamliners were being bought. But based on the company's current price list, a $2.2 billion price tag implies a mix of Dreamliner types -- perhaps three 787-8s and six 787-9s (or four and five), respectively. Three of the planes appear to already be firm orders and will show up in Boeing's next weekly order book update. The remainder will enter the order book once they are finalized.

Separately, El Al will be leasing six more 787s from unnamed "independent aircraft leasing companies." El Al currently has no Dreamliners in its air fleet. The addition of as many as 15 units of the new plane, however, will add enough new 787s not just to upgrade El Al's aging, all-Boeing fleet of 42 planes, but to grow it as well. In a joint statement, El Al noted that this is "the largest aircraft acquisition program in the history of El Al."

The horse race
Meanwhile across the pond, at last report, Boeing archrival Airbus (NASDAQOTH:EADSY) was continuing to hold a pretty sizable lead over Boeing in the race to win the most orders for 2015. As you may recall, Airbus won that battle in 2014 -- and in 2013 as well.

Whether Boeing's big El Al order will be enough to help it beat Airbus in the race to sell the most planes in October -- and ultimately, to win this year's annual sales crown back from Airbus -- remains to be seen. But with Airbus' own report on October sales due out later this week, we should soon get a glimpse at how that horse race is going as well.

Stay tuned.

Rich Smith does not own shares of, nor is he short, any company named above. You can find him on Motley Fool CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 280 out of more than 75,000 rated members. 

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