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Boeing widens lead over Airbus in orders

Wed., July 19, 2006

FARNBOROUGH, England — Airlines voiced tentative interest in the new $10 billion design for the planned Airbus A350 jet, but Boeing continued to outpace its European rival’s orders at the Farnborough Air Show on Tuesday.

The chairman of Dubai-based carrier Emirates gave cautious approval of the new A350 — upgraded to compete more effectively against Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner and larger 777 jet — and British Airways PLC said it will study the Airbus blueprint before deciding on new mid-sized planes.

The planned Airbus jet “looks a good plane,” Emirates Chairman Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum said at the air show, one of the biggest dates in the aeronautical industry calendar.

“We are still looking at both the 787 and the A350 — the newly announced version,” he said during a news conference at which the airline announced orders for 10 Boeing 747-8F freighters.

Emirates, which also ordered 43 Boeing 777s at the Dubai Air Show last November, is an increasingly important customer for both aircraft makers.

Airbus received non-binding commitments from Tripoli-based Afriqiyah Airways for the purchase of 12 jets on Tuesday — Libya’s biggest plane deal since the lifting of international sanctions — taking its Farnborough order book so far to 23 jets, worth $2.6 billion at list prices.

But Boeing won much more business, fueling speculation that it will beat Airbus for full-year orders for the first time since 2000.


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