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Paris Air Show spotlights fuel cost fears

06-20-2011 11:26 BJT Special Report:49th International Paris Air Show |

PARIS - Airlines will be seeking a cleaner, cheaper way to fly and planemakers will be angling for billions in new contracts Monday at the Paris Air Show, which stars a solar plane, biofuel jet engines and the Boeing-Airbus rivalry.

The Airbus A380, the world's largest jetliner with a wingspan of almost 80 meters, is seen on the tarmac near the structure which the plane touched, damaging its right-hand wing-tip, on the eve of the opening of the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, near Paris, June 19, 2011.[Photo/Agencies]

The search for more environmentally friendly aircraft is shaping up as one of the major themes of this year's Paris Air Show, the world's largest and oldest aviation showcase.

The show comes amid skyrocketing fuel costs and bleak forecasts for the international air transport market.

The International Air Transport Association last month warned that natural disasters in Japan, unrest in the Middle East and rising fuel prices would cause airline industry profits to collapse only a year after they'd begun to recover from the global economic crisis.

More than 2,100 exhibitors from 45 countries have signed up to take part in the weeklong event showcasing both commercial and defense aircraft. Airbus expects to bag bountiful orders for a new, more fuel-efficient version of its workhorse A320 shorthaul jet, while Boeing is spotlighting its new mid-range 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 intercontinental passenger jets.

Gallois said the air show, at Le Bourget airport outside Paris, "will confirm the success of the A320neo," a revamped version of the standard A320 reengineered to be 15 percent more fuel efficient.

Skyrocketing fuel costs are a major issue for Airbus and Boeing customers, who will see their profits plunge to $4 billion this year from $18 billion in 2010, according to the IATA forecast released earlier this month.

Major airlines have increased fares seven times since the start of the year as fuel prices rose.

The airshow will also be the battleground in the traditional yearly showdown between Boeing and Airbus for dominance in booking new orders. Airlines in fast-growing Asian and Middle Eastern countries have been ordering hundreds of new aircraft to meet skyrocketing air traffic in those regions.

Airbus edged out Boeing at last year's Farnborough International Airshow, racking up deals totaling $13.2 billion, while Chicago-based Boeing's commitments came in at $12.8 billion.

Editor:Xiong Qu |Source: China Daily

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