Boeing's 7E7 Struggling To Take Off

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2004 was a rough year for most of the major U.S. airlines, and that meant it was a rough year for Boeing as well. The airlines have not been buying, and China announced last week that it won't be needing any new airplanes in 2005. But the plane-maker got a bit of a boost last Wednesday when Continental Airlines became the first major U.S. carrier to place an order for the new 7E7. The $1.3 billion order is for 10 aircraft, with the first to be delivered in 2009. "The 7E7 is simply a game changer," said Gordon Bethune, Continental CEO. "It will position Continental for significant international growth from our New York and Houston hubs over the next decade." The news met a mixed reaction on Wall Street, where Boeing's stock dipped anyway. So far, Boeing has firm orders for about 56 of the 7E7s, mostly from foreign carriers. Boeing says its twin-engine, largely composite 7E7 Dreamliner will burn 20 percent less fuel, carry up to 60 percent more cargo and offer wider seats and bigger windows for passengers.