By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N) appeared on the verge of beating European rival Airbus largely for its orders for aircraft in 2018, after winning several billion dollars in new business with Nigerian airlines Green Africa Airways from Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

The world's largest automaker had already registered 690 net orders for aircraft until the end of November, announced the last full month, surpassing the 380 total orders of Airbus minus cancellations for the same period, from After the data of the company.

Green Africa Airways, of Boeing and Lagos, announced a preliminary agreement that, once finalized, will involve 50 firm orders for its 737 MAX 8 aircraft, with an option to purchase an additional 50 aircraft, for a posted price of $ 11.7 billion (9.27 billion pounds).

The agreement on Boeing's narrow-body fast twin-jet aircraft is Africa's biggest deal, Boeing and Green Africa said in a joint statement.

In addition, its low-cost low-cost subsidiary Boeing and Saudi Arabian Airlines, which only used Airbus flares, reached an interim agreement for 30,737 MAX with options for another 20 as part of the a transaction valued at $ 5.9 billion at list price. .

Boeing and Airbus have embarked on a fierce battle for the sale of modernized fuel economy aircraft such as the 737 MAX and A320neo families, both of which claim superior profitability, but Airbus retains a larger market share despite disappointing year in 2018 despite changes in direction. .

The 737 MAX 8 is Boeing's best-selling aircraft, with more than 4,800 orders placed by more than 100 customers worldwide.

Boeing was playing in front of the popularity of his 737 MAX 8 while Lion Air was considering the cancellation of a 737 order worth $ 22 billion as a result of the fatal accident that occurred in October in Indonesia.

The Jeddah-based airline has selected the 737 MAX 8 with a capacity of 189 passengers in a single-class configuration, said Boeing.

African airlines will need 1,190 new aircraft as the continent strengthens intra-continental and intercontinental connectivity over the next two decades, Boeing said, citing its 20-year Trade Market Outlook.

Despite a history of last-minute surprises, analysts said it was unlikely Airbus would regain lost ground before the end of the year.

However, industry sources have indicated that they may still close some transactions before the end of the year, including leasing customers such as SMBC Aviation who are considering the possibility of benefiting from discounted prices while they are not going to be able to afford a discount. Airbus is trying to reduce the gap and that a transaction is not ruled out before the end of the year.

(In the 3rd paragraph, correct to show that the Green Africa agreement is tentative and not firm)

(Report by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, Bhanu Pratap in Bengaluru and Tim Hepher in Paris, edited by Sunil Nair and James Dalgleish)