Iceland's Avion Group orders four 777 freighters

Avion Group, an Icelandic company that leases and operates airplanes for other carriers, said Thursday it would buy four Boeing 777 freighters and retain purchase rights for two more.

In a statement, Chicago-based Boeing Co. said the two companies also are in "serious negotiations" to convert three of an Avion subsidiary's jumbo 747-400 passenger jets into freighters.

Boeing said the deal for the four 777 freighters and three conversions would be worth about $1 billion (Ђ820 million) at list prices, although airlines typically negotiate big discounts.

The Avion subsidiary, Air Atlanta Icelandic, also will operate the 777 freighters. It plans to take delivery of the first 777 freighter in February 2009.

Avion will become one of two current launch customers for the freighter version of the twin-engine 777, joining Air France.

The plane will only be available with General Electric Co. engines.

Boeing shares rose 14 cents to $62.55 in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange, where they have traded in a range of $48.10 to $68.38 over the past 52 weeks, AP reported.

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