Korean Air, South Korea's biggest carrier, said on Monday it had signed a deal to buy 10 787 Dreamliner jets (search) from Boeing Co. (BA) for $1.3 billion.

The purchase is the first of the 787 by Korean Air (search).

The airline said in a statement the purchase was part of its plans to meet future demand for point-to-point travel on mid-long range routes.

Deliveries of the planes are due from 2009 through to 2011.

"This airplane deal signifies our commitment to our vision of becoming one of the world's top ten airlines by 2010," Korean Air chairman and chief executive Cho Yang-ho said in a statement.

Over the next 10 years, Korean Air said it planned to invest $10 billion in new aircraft purchases, in-flight service upgrades, information technology enhancements and other projects.

The 787s will replace aging A300-600 aircraft that currently are being phased out of the fleet.

The 787 Dreamliner is the linchpin of Boeing's bet that airlines will mainly want smaller planes for point-to-point travel between regional airports rather than for Boeing's European rival Airbus' double-decker A380 superjumbo (search), which would bring larger numbers of passengers into "hub" style airports.

Korean Air previously ordered from Airbus five A380s to add to its fleet beginning in 2007.