BRITISH Airways is understood to be talking to Boeing about a £2.5bn order for new short-haul aircraft.
The new deal is for up to 40 of the new 100-seat B717, a new version of the DC-9, which are due for delivery from next year.
Franchise partner British Regional Airlines will take the bulk of the order for its Manchester and Birmingham operations to European cities.
A BA spokeswoman said: "Active negotiations are under way with several aircraft manufacturers for our short-haul fleet. There is a long way to go before we make a decision."
BA has also approached Airbus and British Aerospace to pitch for the order with their 100-seater A318s and Avro RJ 100s respectively.
If the order goes to Boeing it will represent a major coup for the Seattle manufacturer, which lost out to arch-rival Airbus last year for BA's £5.5bn order and options for aircraft from the A320 family.
The A320s start to arrive this autumn in a five-year programme to replace Boeing 737s, turboprops and MD-83s based at Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham (Travel Weekly September 2 1998).
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