Airbus To Dominate Paris Air Show

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Boeing executives say they'll let Airbus take center stage on its home turf at next week's Paris Air Show although some industry watchers say Boeing will have to respond somehow to its arch rival's aggressive move against its bread-and-butter 737. With a lot of winking and nudging, Airbus has apparently let it be known that it expects to land a record number of orders for its re-engined A320 single-aisle airliner. Dubbed the A320neo, the aircraft will be considerably more fuel efficient than the latest 737s. Boeing is now weighing whether to make expensive mods to the existing airframe or start with clean sheet and Boeing CEO James McNerney Jr. has said no such announcement will be made in Paris. Centerpiece of the Boeing display will be the new 747-8. Boeing is also cutting back its defense presence at the big show. Meanwhile, the rest of the industry will be looking for concrete signs of a recovery as showgoers stroll the ramps at Le Bourget.

Despite Boeing's coyness, Paris is a must-attend show for all the major planemakers but while it's been a platform for new aircraft introductions and to brag about order books in the past, there's not likely to be much in the way of that kind of news next week. However, shows that were predicted to be slow have surprised us before and we'll be on the lookout for the top news from Paris.