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Last Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006, 14:16 GMT
BMW to co-design Airbus interior
Artist's impression of the forthcoming Airbus A350
The Airbus A350 will be able to seat up to 300 passengers
German carmaker BMW has confirmed it is to help Airbus design the interior of the aircraft-maker's new A350 jet.

Set to start service in 2010, the A350 will be the European firm's new mid-sized, long-distance aircraft, designed to rival Boeing's Dreamliner.

While BMW and Airbus declined to give any details, German reports say the carmaker will help the aircraft-maker improve passenger comfort.

The Dreamliner, due in 2008, has 185 orders so far. The A350 has 172.

State-aid row

Airbus, 80% owned by Franco-German EADS and 20% by the UK's BAE Systems, expects the A350 to cost 4.35bn euros (3bn) to develop.

It will be able to seat either 253 or 300 passengers, depending upon the specific model.

Back in October, Airbus announced it was to turn down at least the first year of possible European Union support for the A350 to ease an ongoing dispute with US Boeing.

Both accuse the other of using illegal state aid to subsidise their operations and thus enjoy an unfair commercial advantage.

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