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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 16:54 GMT
EU vows continuing Airbus support
Airbus A380
The Airbus A380 superjumbo has been hit by production delays
The European Union (EU) is to press ahead with support for aircraft maker Airbus in its long-running dispute over state subsidies with US rival Boeing.

Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said the EU would continue to support Airbus in its row over alleged illegal aid.

The news came amid reports that German airline Lufthansa was mulling a major order for Boeing's enlarged 747 jet.

The move would be a snub for Airbus, as Lufthansa was among the first customers for its A380 superjumbo passenger jet.

Lufthansa, along with several other airlines, has been weighing its options in the wake of production delays to the flagship Airbus jet.

The Wall Street Journal said Lufthansa was considering an order for 20 Boeing 747-8 stretched jumbo jets, with an option for an additional 20.

Thai Airways International confirmed on Wednesday that it would cancel its order for six Airbus A380s if talks on compensation for late delivery failed.

'Genuine evidence'

The EU and the US are both locked in dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over alleged subsidies paid to their airline industries.

"We will proceed with our counter-case until such time there is genuine evidence of a willingness on the US side to negotiate," said Mr Mandelson.

Earlier this week, Airbus chief executive Louis Gallois attacked Boeing for receiving state subsidies for developing new planes.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Boeing filed arguments at the WTO last month, alleging that illegal government subsidies were paid to Airbus for the development of new planes.

The EU is expected to maker a counter-claim against Boeing earlier next year.

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