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Taking off... pounds 12bn orders boost for troubled Airbus.

Byline: By DAVID WILLIAMSON Western Mail

Troubled European planemaking company Airbus, whose planes' wings are built in North Wales, was finally able to announce some good news on aircraft orders yesterday. The Toulouse-based firm, in which UK aerospace company BAE Systems has a 20% stake, said it had received firm orders and commitments for 182 aircraft at the Farnborough Air Show in Hampshire.

The deals, involving 12 customers, are worth around pounds 12bn and are a boost to Airbus which has trailed behind American rival Boeing in orders this year.

Significantly, the orders announced yesterday include the first for Airbus's re-designed A350 aircraft as well as more orders - the first for some months - for the company's 555-seater A380 superjumbo.

Singapore Airlines, which will be the first carrier to put the A380 into passenger service, is taking 20 A350s and will also take nine more A380s to add to its initial order for 10 of the superjumbos.

Airbus's new chief executive Christian Streiff said, 'This air show clearly demonstrates the confidence our customers are placing in Airbus to deliver the product they need.

'It is also a reflection on the vitality of Airbus and its commitment towards current and new customers to fully satisfy their requirements.'

Customers' unhappiness with the original design for the A350 prompted the company to announced a larger version of the plane which will come into passenger service in 2012.

To add to the company's woes, it was forced to announce earlier this year that it would not be able to deliver as many A380s next year as promised.

Airbus's parent company EADS has has had to contend with the resignation of two top bosses.

Boeing said yesterday that it had taken 520 firm orders for the year so far - far more than Airbus. Boeing also said that during the time Airbus A380 orders had stalled, its own Boeing 747 jumbo jet had done well, with 56 firm orders in the last 18 months.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 22, 2006
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