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Airbus announcing Qatar, Emirates deal

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus dominated the opening of the world's largest aviation fair, the Paris Air Show, by announcing several large orders. 

Emirates Airline has signed an agreement to buy eight additional A380 superjumbo airplanes, Airbus said in a statement, taking the total order by the Dubai-based carrier for the largest commercial aircraft ever built to 55. Emirates plans to take delivery of the A380 beginning in the Q3 of 2008, Airbus said. No sum for the deal was announced, but the catalogue price for the planes totals 2.5 billion dollars. The order will give a boost from the aircraft's biggest customer to the A380 program after a two-year delay. The contract was signed at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, north of the French capital, by Emirates head Akbar al-Baker and Airbus president Louis Gallois. 

In addition, Airbus said Qatar Airways has ordered three A380s, to complement the two they had purchased earlier. Qatar signed a contract for the 80 A350 XWB long-haul aircraft for which the company had earlier signed a memorandum of understanding. Industry executives say the carrier will finalize the $16 billion deal. Qatar's A350 deal could also bring a contract for Rolls-Royce , which is the only supplier of engines on the twin-engined XWB.

Airbus is also working to bring in a coveted firm order from US Airways , which has provisionally ordered 22 A350s, that the European planemaker is anxious to prevent slipping to Boeing. The Airbus XWB is a bigger rival to the Boeing 787 which is due to hit the market in 2008, prompting some analysts to suggest the XWB is more likely to take business away from Boeing's larger and older 777 model. (newspostindia.com, monstersandcritics.com)