China Southern Airlines, China's biggest airline in terms of fleet size, could be about to place a US$2.4bn order for 20 next generation Boeing 7E7 jets, Xinhua reported. Citing unnamed sources, the agency said the new planes could be delivered and in service in time for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. News of the possible deal comes despite a reported government-ordered freeze on new commercial aircraft orders in 2005 in an effort to curb sharp and uncontrolled growth by domestic airlines. Boeing has been eager to secure Chinese orders of its new plane, dubbed the Dreamliner, which has yet to enter production. Boeing has so far received 126 orders for 7E7s, with 56 confirmed, leaving it short of its 2004 launch target of some 200.
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