Dubai Air Show Upbeat

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The Dubai Air Show is under way and while it's a much different experience than the outpouring of cash that marked the 2007 show, organizers and exhibitors are reporting an upbeat atmosphere. In 2007, manufacturers wrote a staggering $100 billion in orders. At this year's show, exhibitors appear happy to be hanging on to what was left of the fat order books they amassed two years ago. "Everybody is talking about new orders, nobody is talking about delays and cancellations," John Leahy, chief operating officer of Airbus, told reporters. "Nine months ago, there was talk of delaying deliveries, we have not heard any of that this air show." Airbus is taking its share of what orders there are, including one from Air Austral, which is based on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, for two A380s in all-economy configuration and seating 840 passengers. Boeing got some welcome news from Ethihad Airlines at the show.

The Abu Dhabi flag carrier said it was fine with accepting the first of its 35 Boeing 787s in 2014, a year later than promised. Emirates, which has $55 billion worth of airplanes on order, is considering buying more, namely Boeing 777s and A330s, but no figures were discussed. Dubai is typically dominated by airline business, but all the business aircraft manufacturers and hundreds of systems and parts makers attend, and one of the most aviation-friendly U.S. politicians is also there, drumming up business for his state. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue announced the expansion of three Georgia companies (Star Navigation Systems Group, Zodiac Services Americas LLC and Jetaire Group), which are all adding staff and plant capacity. "Each of these three announcements illustrate a key aspect of our economic development strategy," Perdue said.