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Airbus set for pounds 50bn bonanza; Planemaker expected to scoop 90% of orders at upcoming Paris Air Show.

Byline: ERYL CRUMP

AIRBUS is poised to announce a batch of orders at this week's Paris Air Show.

Senior officers at the European manufacturer hinted at the weekend hundreds of plane orders will be unveiled at the show as the global economy recovers from recession.

Chief executive Tom Enders said he expected to increase its haul of orders compared to last year''s comparable event, the Farnborough air show, when Airbus bagged 130 firm orders and 122 provisional orders.

I would say we expect a few more orders, the market is active, he said.

Wings for all Airbus aircraft are built at Broughton in Flintshire.

More than 6,000 people are employed at the factory and further orders and increased production would secure existing jobs and may create even more.

Mr Enders added he believed rival Boeing would have to react to Airbus''s revamped A320neo plane by putting new engines on its best-selling 737 jet, which competes with the A320.

Last Thursday Airbus received big orders from two Asian budget airlines for the aircraft. Indian low-cost airline Go Air ordered 72 A320neo's, while Cebu Pacific of the Philippines ordered 30.

The A320neo is an updated version of Airbus''s most-popular jet with new engines the planemaker says will provide up to 15% in fuel savings when it enters service in late 2015.

AirAsia and Qatar may announce orders for the A320neo this week.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker may also reveal plans to increase its order for Airbus A380 at the show.

The Gulf airline has five of the world''s largest passenger jets on order.

Mr Al Baker has said he plans to sign a small order for additional A380s, adding it won''t be a hundred aircraft. The airline may also order A330 freighters.

Analysts agree the Paris Show will see a clutch of new deals announced by both Airbus and Boeing.

Jeff Knight of Keydata said: "Our analysis of possible announcements arrives at a total of about $56 to $60 billion worth of deals, similar to the level reached at the Farnborough Show.

"We expect Airbus to capture about 90% of the orders and push its order total for the year into the 700 unit range.

"As for Boeing we project its deal announcements will top $5 billion."

Airbus trailed Boeing in terms of plane orders in the first five months of 2011 with 176, behind Boeing''s 182.

Airbus and Rolls Royce are also expected to reveal details of a new engine for the A350XWB. Airlines have criticised the planemaker''s policy that would see the aircraft built in three separate models all using the same engine, the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB.

erylcrump@dailypost.co.uk

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Airbus chief Tom Enders believes the Paris Airshow (above) will yield major orders
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jun 20, 2011
Words:460
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