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Boeing sees Latin American market share at least 50 percent

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[March 27, 2014]  SANTIAGO (Reuters)  U.S. planemaker Boeing Co <BA.N> is positive it can reach a market share in Latin America of least 50 percent of orders in coming years, a senior regional executive told Reuters on Wednesday.

"We see this market growing an average 6.9 percent over the next 20 years," Van Rex Gallard, Boeing's sales vice president for Latin American, Africa and the Caribbean, said in an interview at Santiago's FIDAE airshow.

He said that translates into 2,900 jetliners worth $300 billion, adding that Boeing's share of that would be "minimum fifty-fifty."

In recent years, Boeing has lost market share in the region, where there has been an aggressive push by Airbus <AIR.PA>.

Airbus said on Tuesday its market share was 61 percent of aircraft sold and that it believes it can drive that up to 65 percent.

Gallard declined to give an estimate of the number of planes Boeing expected to sell in the region in 2014 but said he thought it would be "a good year for us".

Boeing is in talks to sell the 737, 777 and 787 jets, he said.

Regional airlines LATAM Airlines <LAN.SN>, AeroMexico <AEROMEX.MX> and Avianca <AVT_p.CN> will each have at least one 787 Dreamliner in their fleet this year, Gallard said, adding that no other Boeing clients in Latin America were in talks at this time for the plane.

The Dreamliner has had its share of issues since entering service in 2011. It was grounded for months last year after battery overheating problems, but on March 19 a joint review by Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration found that the plane is soundly designed and safe to fly.

"There's still more to do to be the best plane in the world, which is our goal," said Gallard.

"The clients are not nervous about what could happen to the plane in the future, but they are expecting us to carry on working with them in helping them to establish the plane and to establish it in their fleets."

(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien and Antonio De la Jara; editing by Andre Grenon)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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