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Boeing, Airbus bag big Lufthansa orders

FRANKFURT, Germany German airline Lufthansa is ordering 34 new jets from Boeing (BA) and 25 from European rival Airbus as it updates its long-haul fleet to make it more fuel efficient and lower costs.

Lufthansa said the orders were worth $19 billion at list prices.

The 777-9X jets made by Chicago-headquartered Boeing Co. and the Airbus A350-900 models will begin being delivered in 2016. They will replace older aircraft such as Boeing 747-700s and Airbus A340-300s.

And Lufthansa said it was taking options to buy more planes if its business needs demanded it. Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, said Lufthansa had options to buy 30 more of the planes.

The company said the new planes will make its fleet more fuel-efficient and quieter as well as improve passenger comfort with wider cabins. CEO Christoph Franz said that the order "enabled a quantum leap in efficiency."

Lufthansa AG is facing tough competition from Middle Eastern airlines on long-haul routes between Europe and Asia, as well as competition from low-cost airlines on shorter routes. Aircraft noise has been a political and legal issue at the airline's Frankfurt hub, where some residents have complained about the impact of new runways.

The airline says the new planes use an average 2.9 liters of jet fuel to fly a passenger 100 kilometers -- lower than the current fuel mileage figure for the company's long haul fleet of 3.58 liters per 100 kilometers per passenger.

The company recorded a net loss of $270 million in the first six months of the year as restructuring costs, fuel prices and slower business in Asia and the Middle East sapped earnings.

Its shares rose 1 percent to 13.98 euros in midday trading in Frankfurt.