PARIS: The A380 superjumbo, swooping high above Le Bourget airfield on its daily demonstration flights, may cast a long shadow over the Paris Air Show this year. Production delays for the double-deck, 555-seat technological marvel have been the catalyst for the plane maker's outsized woes over the past year.
But it is another aircraft, the twin-engine A350, that Airbus hopes will grab the headlines at the show, which opens Monday.
"This will be the year of the 350," John Leahy, Airbus's chief salesman, predicted this month. He expects Airbus to secure at least 200 orders for the A350 this year - and as many as half of those could be signed by the end of this week.
I wonder will we see a few more A380 orders this week?
Analysts said a big chunk of the A350 orders announced this week could be conversions of contracts that were signed before Airbus redesigned the plane. Others may simply be the formalization of commitments that were made public long ago, including one from Singapore Airlines for 20 planes, and another 22 from the Russian state-run carrier, Aeroflot.
Have any old A350 customers signalled their intent to sign up recently?