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French President Nicolas Sarkozy opens Paris Air Show

Other News Materials 20 June 2011 16:22 (UTC +04:00)
The 49th Paris Air Show, the biggest air show in the world, got underway Monday at Le Bourget airport, on the outskirts of Paris, against the backdrop of an upswing in the market for commercial aircraft.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy opens Paris Air Show

The 49th Paris Air Show, the biggest air show in the world, got underway Monday at Le Bourget airport, on the outskirts of Paris, against the backdrop of an upswing in the market for commercial aircraft, DPA reported.

Arch-rivals Airbus and Boeing are expected to rake in orders for passenger planes at the week-long show, which opened with a military fly-past attended by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was also expected to visit the show Monday as part of a two-day visit to France.

Last week US aircraft manufacturer Boeing said it expected 33,500 new passenger and cargo planes to be sold between now and 2030, as the market recovers from the turbulence caused by the 2008 global financial crisis.

The first order of the day Monday went to Boeing. Qatar Airways announced it had ordered six wide-body Boeing 777-300s for a catalogue price of 1.7 billion dollars.

Boeing's arch-rival Airbus is expecting a slew of orders for the A320 Neo, a new version of its short-to-medium-range plane, which comes with a more fuel efficient engine.

But the show got off to a turbulent start for the European manufacturer.

Planned demonstration flights of the long-awaited new A400M military transporter had to be cancelled because of gearbox trouble. The plane managed however to take part in the military fly-past.

Elsewhere, one of Airbus's wide-body A380s had to be grounded after one of the wings tipped a building after landing at Le Bourget on Sunday.

Korean Air stepped in to save Airbus's blushes by lending it an A380 for demonstration flights Monday and Tuesday.

Making its first appearance at Le Bourget this year is China, which will be presenting a model of its C919 - a middle-range plane that it plans to launch in 2016, and for which it is already taking orders.

But the star of the show is likely to be the Solar Impulse, a solar-powered plane developed in Switzerland, which arrived in Paris last Tuesday after a 16-hour odyssey from Brussels.

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