Airbus Industrie has announced two new orders for a total of 14 aircraft worth nearly $1.5 billion.

The company also has a long-awaited $950 million order from Asiana Airlines for 18 A321s.

But, despite the celebrations, Airbus did not miss the chance to attack Boeing's previous day's announcement of $6.3 billion worth of new orders.

Airbus senior vice-president John Leahy took a swipe at Boeing and claimed its rival's order books are "cooked up".

"What Boeing regards as new orders, we believe are actually conversions. Boeing does not take into account cancellations, so we think it is just a completely cooked up order book," he says.

The Airbus announcement includes Federal Express's requirement for 11 additional A300-A600 freighter aircraft, for delivery between 1998 and 2000.

They will be powered by General Electric CF6-80C2 engines.

The freight company currently operates 17 A300-600Fs and 27 A310s.

"The A300-600F is the result of unique collaboration between our two companies, which together designed Airbus' first dedicated freighter," says Airbus Industrie managing director Jean Pierson.

"This order proves that Airbus is a major presence in the cargo aircraft world."

Cathay Pacific has signed for three more ultra long-range A340-300s, due for delivery during the second and third quarters of 1998. It brings to nine the number of firm orders placed by the airline for the four-engine aircraft.

Meanwhile, Asiana will start to take deliveries of the first of its A321s in the second quarter of 1998, with the entire fleet scheduled to be in service by 2005.

Asiana president Park Sam Koo says: "With these fuel efficient, passenger pleasing and environmentally friendly aircraft in our fleet, we will be able to offer our passengers a superlative in-flight product while at the same time maximising project potential."



Source: Flight Daily News