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Tuesday, September 8, 1998 Published at 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK

Airbus lands major new orders

There has been a long-standing rivalry between Airbus and Boeing

Airbus has stolen the limelight from its arch US rival Boeing at the Farnborough airshow after landing orders worth several billion pounds.

Dubai-based airline Emirates is to buy six Airbus A340s with options on 10 more in a deal worth £1.5bn ($2.5bn).

In addition American company International Lease Finance Corporation is ordering 10 A340s as well as six Airbus A320s.

[ image: The deal is good news for workers at British Aerospace and Rolls-Royce]
The deal is good news for workers at British Aerospace and Rolls-Royce
Rolls-Royce will supply engines for all the A340s in the two deals which were announced at the air show.

The orders will be worth about £650m to Rolls.

The announcement is further good news for Airbus, in which British Aerospace has a 20% stake.

BAe builds the wings for the Airbus aircraft.

Last month, BA shunned America's Boeing in favour of Airbus in a big order for short-haul jets.

The A340s for Emirates will start to be delivered in 2002 and the ILFC planes will be delivered in the four years up to 2006.

Firm orders for the Airbus A330/A340 family are now approaching 500 from some 50 customers, making the plane the market leader in the 250-380 seat category.

The Emirates deal means that nine customers have now placed commitments for some 120 of the A340-500s and A340-600s in business worth nearly £10bn.

Boeing admits 'too arrogant' in past

The good news for Airbus follows enthusiastic support for the European aviation industry expressed by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Both Mr Blair and Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Mandelson said it was vital that the planned reconstruction of Airbus went ahead so Europe could compete on a global aviation stage.

At Farnborough yesterday Mr Mandelson met ministers of the three other Airbus partner countries - France Germany and Spain.

He said that although a number of problems still had to be overcome, Airbus was on target to become a single independent company by mid-1999.

Earlier Harry Stonecipher, president of Seattle-based Boeing, admitted that the company had "let down many commercial aeroplane customers through late deliveries".

Mr Stonecipher said that the company had been "too arrogant, too distracted and too self-satisfied".

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