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The BBC's Robert Hall
"A larger version of Boeing's passenger jet is now a possibility"
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The BBC's Simon Montague
"The Americans are promising a battle of the goliaths"
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Phil Condit, chief executive of Boeing
"It will be the smaller aircraft that will be a big part of the market"
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Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Airbus wins $7.5bn aircraft order
The A3XX super jumbo - artist's impression
The A3XX super jumbo is the largest Airbus project to date
The US leasing corporation ILFC has signed a letter of intent to buy 87 Airbus aircraft, including five of the planned A3XX super jumbo airliners, Airbus Industrie announced at the Farnborough air show.

The order is estimated to be worth $7.5bn (4.94bn).

Super Jumbo Facts
Wingspan: 80m
Length: 67.4-78.9m
Passengers: 480-656
Minimum range (A3XX-100): 7,650 nautical miles (14,150 km)
Top range (A3XX-100R): 8,750 nm (16,200 km)
Engines: four Rolls-Royce or Pratt-Whitney-General Electric jet engines
On-board services: shops, sleeping areas, creche and exercise room over two decks
The deal means 22 orders have been placed so far for the super jumbos after Air France and Emirates Airlines placed orders on Monday.

Air France signed a letter of intent to buy 10 super jumbos, with options for four more, while Emirates Airlines said it planned to buy five A3XX, had the option to buy five more, and ordered two freighter versions of the aircraft.

The deals will secure thousands of jobs across Europe, including at BAE Systems, the UK company that owns 20% of Airbus.

BAE Systems's UK plants will produce wings for the new aircraft.

The Emirates' deal is estimated to be worth at least $2.2bn.

The airline will receive its first super jumbo in February 2006.

No financial details of the Air France deal were disclosed.

"The projected growth in air traffic we see, together with the totally new standard in terms of passengers comfort and economics that the A3XX will introduce in the very large capacity market will be extremely environmentally friendly, has convinced us," Air France president Jean-Cyril Spinetta said.

Of the 52 initial expressions of interest in the new plane, Airbus said it hoped to announce that 22 of these would become firm orders this week.

Singapore Airlines is also reportedly interested in ordering 10 of the extra-large planes, with an option to buy a further six.

Controversial plane

The Airbus super jumbo project has been controversial, with its launch postponed several times.

Rival Boeing claims that there is not a big enough market for the A3XX project, and estimates future demand at 400-500 aircraft, compared to Airbus's estimate of a market of 1,500.

Boeing, and the US government, are also concerned about the extent of government subsidy that will required to develop the super jumbo. One third of the development costs of $12bn (8bn) are expected to be provided by commercial loans from European countries, with Britain pledged to contribute 500m.

The super jumbo, the world's largest commercial airliner, will challenge the highly profitable Boeing 747. The A3XX will have a range of 8,750 miles and on-board exercise and sleeping areas.

Boeing has recently announced it will develop a stretched version of the 747 to compete with the A3XX.

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See also:

24 Jul 00 | Business
Airbus clinches super jumbo deals
23 Jun 00 | Business
Take off for super jumbo
07 Jul 00 | Business
Boeing to build super jumbo
24 Jul 00 | Business
Boeing racks up orders
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