The Paris Air Show, the world's biggest
air fair, got off to a flying start Monday, despite stormy weather,
as airplane makers Airbus and Boeing vied to announce a flurry of
orders for passenger planes.
Airbus took the early lead in the biennial battle for orders between the European and US arch-rivals, who use the show at Le Bourget airport as a forum for announcing juicy contracts.
Germany's Lufthansa confirmed its plans to buy 100 short-to-medium-range Airbus A320s, with a combined list value of 10.4 billion dollars. Of the 100 planes, 70 were of the new-engine, fuel efficient Neo variety.
France-based Airbus also announced a provisional deal for 20 double-decker A380 superjumbos from Doric Lease Corp, a German aircraft leasing company.
The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding for the order, which has a catalogue value of 8.08 billion dollars.
The deal gives the world's biggest airliner a boost, after technical problems with the wings in 2012 and sluggish sales caused by airlines opting for smaller, less expensive models.
The A320 neo has been a runaway success, by contrast, with airlines lining up for the new engine version of the narrow-body plane, which uses 15-per-cent less fuel.
US aircraft leasing company ILFC signed an order for a further 50 A320 neo, on top of the 100 machines it ordered in 2011.
Not to be outdone, Seattle-based Boeing unveiled a buyer for the stretch version of its mid-size, long-range 787 Dreamliner - even though it has yet to build the plane.
General Electric signed a provisional order for 10 787-10s. Boeing has not yet communicated a price for the aircraft. The smaller version, which is already in service, is listed at around 207 million dollars.
Boeing also announced a firm order from Qatar Airways for two long-range wide-body 777s, and an option on a further seven. The nine aircraft have a total catalogue value of 2.8 billion dollars.
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