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Boeing, Airbus score deals as Farnborough airshow opens

Aerospace rivals Boeing and Airbus won major contracts Monday at the start of the Farnborough airshow in England. Emirates airline ordered 30 Boeing long-range 777 aircraft while a US leasing company ordered 51 Airbus A320 jets.


AFP - Boeing and Airbus won orders worth 13.5 billion dollars at the Farnborough airshow on Monday when Dubai's Emirates airline and a new US leasing company snapped up 81 jets.

Emirates further boosted its reputation as the world's most bullish airline with an order for 30 Boeing long-range 777 aircraft worth a combined 9.1 billion dollars (7.0 billion euros).

Airbus meanwhile won a 4.4-billion-dollar order from US group Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for 51 single-aisle A320 jets.

The orders for US aerospace giant Boeing and its fierce European rival Airbus come as the aviation industry recovers from the economic downturn and amid rising demand for air travel in the Middle East and Asia.

Emirates chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said his decision to expand the airline's 777 fleet reflected plans to grow its "expansive global network, which already spans six continents".

"It also demonstrates our commitment to operating a modern fleet that not only enhances the passenger experience but our operational efficiency as well," he added.

Only a month ago, Emirates agreed to spend 11.5 billion dollars on 32 Airbus superjumbos -- the biggest contract in civil aviation history.

On Monday, ALC said it had chosen to place its first firm order for new aircraft with Airbus.

The deal is for 31 A320 aircraft and 20 A321 planes, which come under the A320 family of single-aisle jets.

"With a wide airline customer base, and the continued global demand for replacement and growth, the A320 and the A321 are an integral part of our fleet portfolio strategy," said ALC chief executive Steven F. Udvar-Hazy.

"In today's airline world, low operating costs, fuel efficiency, environmental friendliness and maximum operating flexibility are important ingredients.

"The latest versions of the Airbus family of single aisle aircraft meet and exceed those high standards," he added.

The Farnborough show near London -- one of the aviation world's biggest trade events -- is renowned for being an arena for major deal announcements.

Boeing will be hoping to secure more orders here for its mid-sized 787 Dreamliner -- a fuel-efficient jet which will be on display in Farnborough after making its first flight outside of the United States on Sunday.

The plane, which can fly long distances and seat up to 330 passengers, has been beset by production delays.

Jim Albaugh, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said on Sunday the company hoped to deliver the first Dreamliner to launch client All Nippon Airways no later than January.

Airbus is working on a new long-haul plane of its own -- the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body). Another big project for Airbus is its long-delayed A400M military transport plane, which is set to make a flypast at Farnborough.

The Farnborough show also traditionally sees the announcement of orders for military jets but with governments set to slash their defence budgets to help reduce huge public deficits, major deals may be scarce.

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