Airbus and Boeing each had good reason to smile this week. The orders flowed and the two industry titans racked up the order dollars so freely that the battle for market supremacy reached heights not seen at an airshow for a long while. But who will laugh longest?

They, and the whole industry, could share a smile that the aviation market has turned the corner. All the indicators are that the industry has not just recovered but is powering ahead.

The combined order book for the week for Boeing and Airbus came to a tidy $41.9 billion, with Airbus accounting for $29.5bn and Boeing $12.4bn. Airbus chalked up 258 firm orders and commitments, while Boeing recorded 106.
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Did the show belong to Airbus? No, it merely recovered its market poise after a spell where Boeing had taken just about every campaign.

There was good news all the way down the aerospace food chain. ATR logged its 50th order of the year during the show, demonstrating that its own lean period was over and that rumours of the death of the turboprop were premature.

With the threat of a transatalantic trade war over subsidies looming, the surprise of the week came yesterday when the heads of Boeing and Airbus spent time together touring each other's aircraft. Alan Mulally of Boeing and Noel Forgeard of Airbus were spotted playing host to each other. However, the likelihood of the two heavyweights sharing a chalet at the next show are thought to be remote.

Whatever the outcome of the trade row, it's not going to stop the industrial launch of Airbus' long-range twin the A350, which racked up 125 orders and commitments. It was late off the blocks and is well behind its Boeing rival in terms of orders, but it duly delivered on its boast to record 'triple digit orders' at the show.

Noel Forgeard, chief executive of Airbus, was in vintage form when he referred to a comment from a Boeing executive that the history of civil aviation had been dominated by the US firm.

Said Forgeard: "I see our competitor said that they have been ahead (of Airbus) for 99% of civil aviation history. It sounds to me that they recognise they are the past but I won't say that because I don't want to be nasty!"

This Paris was a stellar event but there was only ever going to be one star - the Airbus A380. Everything about the aircraft is stunning, from its size to the spontaneous applause that breaks out whenever the leviathan takes off, lands or just sits in the sunshine.

Source: Flight Daily News