Airbus In One-Horse Race In Paris

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Despite the economy and rainy weather, the show must go on and the Paris Air Show is no exception. More than 300,000 people are expected to attend but something that's missing is the annual order tally competition between Airbus and Boeing. A fixture of the summer shows that alternate between Farnborough and LeBourget, this year only Airbus is playing the game. It announced more than 50 orders worth about $6 billion but by the end of the second day of the show, Boeing hadn't notched a single sale. Boeing executives dismissed the shellacking, saying they don't "save up" orders to announce at shows. Instead of trumpeting sales, Boeing instead dwelled on the imminent first flight of the 787 Dreamliner, which spokesman Scott Carson said will occur by the end of this month.

The Dreamliner has moved to the flight line at the company's Everett plant and will fly sometime after June 20, Pat Shanahan, head of new airplane programs at Boeing, said in a press briefing in Paris. The aircraft just completed a set of pre-flight tests and on June 20 all the systems will be run up and some high-speed taxi tests completed. "Then we'll go flying," he said. It has promised the first production airplane to All Nippon Airways by February and Carson said he thinks that's realistic for completing flight and certification testing. "We're going through a detailed engineering review with the pilots, with the design team, to make absolutely sure the airplane is the way we want it to fly," he said. "We believe we can get this done in the nine months we've got."