No Rest For Rivals

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Airbus Bests Boeing...

Despite all the handwringing and bickering and grandstanding, dealmaking is the Paris show's raison d'Ítre, and it goes on apace this week. Airbus Industrie announced at the show on Monday that it had scored a record-setting $12.5 billion order for 41 jets from Emirates Airline, the fastest-growing airline in the Middle East. Airbus also said that in 2003, for the first time, its larger order roster would translate into more deliveries than Boeing -- 300 vs. 280 aircraft. The A380, the world's largest commercial aircraft, will in 2005 debut at the next Paris Air Show and start deliveries the following year, Airbus says. Emirates' order includes 21 of the double-decker, 555-seat A380s. "This leaves Boeing looking rather foolish," Sandy Morris, an analyst at ABN Amro in London, told Bloomberg Business News. "Boeing has been saying that there's not a market for a large plane such as the A380." It will be interesting to see how the logistics of security, loading, and moving a 555-seat aircraft interacts with travelers' schedules, airport facilities and their physical layouts.

...But Boeing Keeps On Going

Boeing may be behind for the moment in the neck-and-neck race with Airbus, but it's busily in the running. And that run appears to be well worth the effort -- in Paris on Monday, Boeing released its 2003 Market Outlook, forecasting a market of $5.2 trillion for new commercial airplanes and aviation services over the next 20 years. Boeing estimates the world fleet will more than double to 34,000 jets by 2022. Also at Paris, Boeing officials touted their newly christened 7E7 Dreamliner. The company expressed confidence that the fuel-efficient 200-seat jet constructed of composites combining titanium and graphite is just what the market really wants. Boeing expects to sell 3,000 of the aircraft, which should be ready for delivery in 2008. Low-speed wind-tunnel tests have started for the design, and work is nearly complete on the model that will be used in a first round of high-speed wind-tunnel tests for the new airplane. During the first round of high-speed tests, Boeing will test four distinctly different wing designs at the Boeing Transonic Wind Tunnel in Seattle. Wind-tunnel tests for noise, icing, flutter and propulsion are scheduled through early 2006. The jet's name was chosen in an online poll, which Boeing said collected 500,000 votes.