Virgin Blue said Tuesday it is close to signing a order worth up to $2.6 billion for Boeing jetliners. The Australian airline plans to launch long-haul flights to the U.S. next year. Virgin Blue has indicated it will order seven Boeing 777-300ERs and take options for an additional six planes.
Eclipse Aviation delivered the first so-called very light jet to a customer Sunday. A handful of manufacturers are producing VLJs, which seat four to six passengers. The low-priced airplanes are capable of using more than 5,000 noncommercial airports.
Boeing's Wichita plant has completed structural modifications on the first missile-intercepting 747-400 freighter. The plane has left the plant for Edwards Air Force Base in California where testing will begin.
Last year was one of the safest years in aviation history, according to a survey by the Aircraft Crashes Record Office, an independent watchdog group. The group said 156 crashes occurred worldwide in 2006, down from 178 in 2005.