US plane manufacturer Boeing is planning to buy half of China Eastern’s Airbus A340 fleet in a move that would see the airline purchase its 777s instead.

£3.7 Boeing Aircraft Deal

The rather unusual trade-in deal would also involve the tidy sum of $6 billion (£3.7 billion) to go through, writes guardian.co.uk, leaving Boeing with five rival A340 jets in return for the sale of 20 Boeing 777s.

Airbus meanwhile has stated it is prepared to trade in the remaining A340s in a separate deal, should China Eastern be willing to buy 15 of its A330s.

While the act of trading planes manufactured by rival companies might seem strange and even confusing to flight tracking fans, Karl Bruenjes, a specialist in second-hand aircraft, noted on Reuters.com that it “sometimes happens.

“The value will mainly be in the engines, not so much the airframe,” Bruenjes explained, who is managing director of UK-based RPK Capital Management.

“An existing operator might be interested in getting some at cheap prices, but we wouldn’t pay more than $30 million (£18.5 million) each, and that’s if we looked at them at all.”

Moving on from the A340?

He added that Boeing might find it difficult to move on the A340s as it is directly competing with the manufacturer. Plus, Airbus already has nine A340s of its own ready to do trade-in deals.

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