Paris Air Show opens to Airbus-Boeing dogfight

13th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

LE BOURGET, France, June 13 (AFP) - The Paris Air Show swung open its doors Monday with Airbus and Boeing on centre stage locked in a fierce global struggle for aeronautic supremacy.

LE BOURGET, France, June 13 (AFP) - The Paris Air Show swung open its doors Monday with Airbus and Boeing on centre stage locked in a fierce global struggle for aeronautic supremacy.  

Nearly 2,000 exhibitors from 41 countries have gathered for the 46th edition of the top global aerospace bazaar at Le Bourget Airport, north of Paris.  

The weeklong show, held every two years, was to be inaugurated Monday by French President Jacques Chirac and opened to the public on the final three days for a festival of aerial displays by 60 aircraft.  

Given star billing was Airbus's new super-jumbo A380, the world's largest airliner in its first public appearance at the air show after its first flight on April 27.  

The A380 flew in "without a hitch" Sunday from the south-western French city of Toulouse, where Airbus is based, said French pilot Jacques Rosay.  

Several demonstration flights are planned at the show, and Rosay, who will man the controls during the week, said it was "possible" the super-jumbo would be taken up every day.  

Boeing lost no time in trying to steal some of Airbus's thunder Sunday by saying that it may decide by end-June to launch a larger and updated version of its wide-body 747 jumbo jet, which has dominated the jumbo market since the 1970s.  

Le Bourget officials said they specially extended a runway to accommodate the A380, which an Airbus spokesman said would hit its 100th hour flying time at Le Bourget and is due to enter commercial service in 2006.  

The A380 - a giant double-decker craft that holds 555 to 840 passengers - is the new weapon in its European maker's competition with US rival Boeing.  

Fortunes have turned recently in their battle, with Boeing now positioned to retake the lead in passenger airplane orders it lost five years ago.  

Airbus hopes to announce at the show an order for its A380 as well as some 100 orders for its planned long-haul, medium-capacity A350, its defensive response to Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, which enters service in 2008 and already has won 266 orders and options.  

Boeing is presenting for the first time its 777-200LR Worldliner, which landed Friday at Le Bourget, completing its first intercontinental flight.  

The world's longest-range commercial airplane - at 9,420 nautical miles (17,445 kilometres) - can connect almost any two cities in the world non-stop.  

Among the other aircraft making their first appearance at Le Bourget are French company Dassault Aviation's Falcon 7X, a tri-jet, long-range business jet; the Brazilian Embraer 195, a 118-seat regional airliner; and US company Gulfstream's business jets G450 and G550.  

Defence sector exhibits include Boeing's new tanker 767-300, the Italian training jet Aermacchi M346, Dassault's Mirage and Rafale fighter jets, and the Eurofighter fighter jet of the consortium of EADS, BAE Systems and Alenia of Italy.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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