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Air India to purchase 50 new jets from Boeing for $6 billion

BOMBAY, India (AP) _ State-owned Air India said Tuesday it had ordered 50 new Boeing jetliners for $6 billion.

The airline said it would purchase eight 777-300 long-haul jetliners, 15 737-200 medium range aircraft and 27 787s _ Boeing's newest jet, the Dreamliner.

The announcement came one day after Air Canada said it would purchase up to 96 Boeing jets.

Air India spokesman Jeetendra Bhargava said the board had reviewed purchase proposals from both Boeing and rival Airbus SAS before making a decision.

Earlier this month, Boeing's senior vice president of sales Dinesh Keskar said his company had offered ``comprehensive and competitive bids'' for the planes. Last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta visited New Delhi and said relations between the United States and India would benefit if Boeing gets the order.

The French government has been lobbying on behalf of Europe-based Airbus, and French Transportation Minister Gilles de Robien was in New Delhi on Monday to meet with India's aviation minister, Praful Patel.
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