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The BBC's John Terrett
"The airline industry is badly exposed to global economic downturns"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Paris Air Show: Rivals in the air
The 44th Paris Air Show is the aerospace industry's most important European event.

This year the fierce rivalry between Airbus and Boeing has been exacerbated by a slowdown in orders due to the worldwide recession.

Meanwhile, salesmen and government ministers mingled with the crowds enjoying the aircraft displays.

airbus a380
Airbus was showing a model of its new super jumbo - the A380 - after claiming 10 more firm orders for the plane that can carry up to 800 passengers over 8,000km.


Airbus announced new orders for its A320 short-range commercial jets, including 40 planes for US discount airline JetBlue.


Airbus is also hoping for orders from European governments for its A400M military transport, and announced that a memorandum of understanding would be signed in September.


Boeing hopes to steal a march on Airbus with its new Sonic Cruiser, a faster subsonic plane which is designed to cut travel times, showing for the first time a scale model.


Meanwhile, in the regional and business jet market, Brazilian plane maker Embraer is making a strong challenge to Canada's Bombardier and France's Dassault. Embraer's boss Mauricio Coelho is attending the show.


But Dassault opened the Air Show with a big order of its own, for 100 business jets sold to US carrier United Airlines.


The French President Jacques Chirac toured the site, lending his support to Dassault's military fighter, the Rafale, used by the French Air Force.


And countries of the former Soviet Union are staging an aerospace comeback, with the Russians showing their re-usable space rocket booster Baikal and the Ukrainians relaunching their giant transport plane the AN225.
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